Little Egg Harbor proposes $7.9 million expansion to Mitchell School

By ROB SPAHR Staff Writer, 609-978-2012
Published: Wednesday, March 05, 2008

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - In 2006 voters agreed to give the Little Egg Harbor Township School District $150,000 to remove temporary classroom space, which were relocatable trailers that had outlasted their life expectancy by more than decade.

On March 11, the school district will ask voters to approve about $7.9 million in bonds to accommodate the students who will be evicted when those trailers at the George J. Mitchell School come down.

In December 2006, voters approved $17.7 million to renovate both of the district's schools, including the $150,000 needed to remove the 23-year-old trailers. But at the same time, the voters rejected an accompanying $17.8 million bond proposal to build a new school.

Construction workers Anthony Ray (left)
and John Hydock build the form for a
ramp at the entrance of the George J.
Mitchell Elementary School on Rt. 539
in Little Egg Harbor Twp.
Tuesday March 4,2008

Staff photo by Bill Gross

Under the new proposal, $7.9 million would go to construct 14 additional classrooms, a new science lab and to extend parts of the multi-purpose room, all at the Mitchell school.

According to Superintendent Frank Kasyan, the school district has a five-year window to remove the temporary classrooms, but the need to provide additional classroom space is much more pressing.

The school's capacity is listed at 1,435, but it is currently operating with 1,680 students, Kasyan said. Demographic studies the district collected show that number could balloon to more than 1,900 by the end of 2009 and skyrocket again if the state requires the district to provide full-day preschool for 3-and 4- year olds by 2014, he said.

While renovation work is currently underway at both the George J. Mitchell School and the Intermediate School - including the installation of a new heating and air condition system, new windows and solar panels on the roof - Kasyan said he'll have his fingers crossed when voters hit the polls again next week.

"Education is about providing students an excellent curriculum, proper air and the right space to learn in," Kasyan said. "We've already had the curriculum and right now the renovations are underway to provide the proper air. Now we just need to provide the students with the right type of space to learn in."


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