Kingsway schools ready for students with construction almost complete

Published:September 2, 2013
Written by Rebecca Forand, South Jersey Times


Kingsway ready
J's Lettering owners, from left, Jeff Jablonski, Jim Jablonski and Joe Jablonski, of Jackson, install the letters on the new facade for the main entrance at Kingsway Regional High School, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (Staff Photo by Lori M. Nichols/South Jersey Times)

WOOLWICH TWP. — Getting a classroom ready is a challenging project for any teacher.

But for those at Kingsway Regional Middle and High Schools who are setting up for the 2013-2014 school year, where a major construction project has transformed the buildings, there is an added challenge.

As Kingsway’s teachers started to make their way back into classrooms last week, there were still paving trucks spreading asphalt, construction workers putting up signs and pouring floors, and custodial staff cleaning the inevitable dust from the construction that has been almost a constant for the past year.

The district is one of the fastest growing in the state and a $31.1 million referendum to expand the district’s two buildings was approved in September 2011. Of the total cost, $8.4 million was covered by state grants. Design for both schools was by Garrison Architects of Marlton.

In total there are 41 new classrooms in the two schools, new cafeterias, gymnasiums and a multitude of technologically advanced rooms for students to learn in.

“Things are changing by the minute here,” Kingsway High School Principal Craig Stephenson said. “But we’ll be ready to rock and roll by Wednesday.”

School starts for students on Thursday, and teachers and administrators are working in a frenzy to make sure everything is ready for them.

What used to be the music room has been expanded to a second library and media center, complete with computer lab, and before Thursday, school staff and the librarian, Colleen Fitzpatrick, will be stocking book shelves and decorating the new space.

Teachers and staff had a lot of impact on the building’s new design, and they are looking forward to utilizing the spaces that have been created with optimum learning capability.

“I can fit two full classes and study hall kids in here at the same time,” Fitzpatrick said of the library. “We wanted to make sure we had enough room in each space for a full class. This will enable us to schedule kids in more frequently, do more and have more of an impact.”

In the new junior-senior math and science wing of the high school, three of the school’s biology teachers spent last week setting up their labs, planning their space and decorating for the year.

Despite the fact that they had to move equipment nearly a quarter of a mile to get to their new spaces, they were excited about the possibilities available in the new lab rooms.

“This is really state-of-the-art. This is the design we thought throughout the building was the best,” said Jen Stark, one of the biology teachers.

The new room has enough space in the front for lecture time and lab tables in the back, to allow each student the ability to learn the subject in different ways.

But learning the new layout hasn’t been easy, and she said she’ll be continuing to learn the school along with her students throughout the school year.

“We’re all freshmen this year,” she said.



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