Moorestown prepares referendum for high school upgrades


By MICHELLE MOLZ Courier-Post Staff Thursday, October 31, 2002

MOORESTOWN The school district is finalizing plans with Garrison Architects for another referendum to enlarge and renovate Moorestown High School. The amount and specific details of the proposal will be made public in November or December, school officials said Wednesday.

It would be the fourth renovation at the 41-year-old high school. Hefty enrollment increases caused by new residential developments are driving the expansion, said Robert Oldt, the school district's assistant superintendent for business.

"We have 1,178 students in the high school and we project over 1,600 students by 2009," Oldt said. In the same period, the district's overall enrollment is expected to grow from 4,054 to 4,981 students.

"By the time we're able to pass a referendum, we're going to be squeezed," said school board President Cyndy Wulfsberg.

In 1998, voters approved a $29.2 million bond issue to build the new Upper Elementary School on Borton Landing Road, convert the middle school to a junior high and add 10 classrooms at the high school. The referendum passed by fewer than 100 votes and added an average of $200 a year to residents' tax bills. A $12.9 million referendum to revamp the high school was approved in 1995.

The district also recently has renovated and expanded its three elementary schools. Wulfsberg said residents have asked her why the district holds one referendum after another instead of building with a 20-year plan.

"We shouldn't ask people to pay for something until we need it," she said. "Our projections are more accurate in a shorter term."

In addition to more classroom space and potential renovations to the gymnasium and locker rooms, the district plans to resolve a longtime parking shortage at the high school, on Bridgeboro Road.

Nearly 300 juniors and seniors with parking permits compete with teachers, support staff and bus drivers for 413 available spaces. Overflow students park along residential streets, which has caused residents to complain about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Last January, they started parking on Stanwick Road," said resident Marcianne McKeon, who petitioned officials to prohibit parking there. "They were lining both sides of the street and it was very unsafe."

After numerous complaints, the township council passed a resolution Monday night to prohibit weekday parking along Stanwick Road. A public hearing will be held Nov. 18. The township restricted parking on Golf View Road last year after residents complained about students parking there.
Oldt said the district hopes to relocate its bus transportation center, now housed at the high school, to another location to make room for more parking spaces. It already has moved 10 buses to the Upper Elementary School to free up another 20 spaces and created about 65 more spaces when the middle school was renovated.





























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