Penns Grove-Carneys Point unveils renovated gym
Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Massare said 70 percent of the district-wide projects were funded by a New Jersey Regular Operating District grant (ROD). The grant was written by the district's architect, Garrison Architects of Marlton.
"We applied for the grant a year ago, and raised enough local share - 30 percent - to start working this past spring," he said.
The bulk of the money, said Massare, went toward Penns Grove High School's Rudy Baric Gymnasium.
"And an all new electronic, Americans With Disabilities Act-approved bleacher system was installed in the high school gym, as well as an electronic divider," he said. "And we re-did the gymnasium floor."
Business Administrator Brian Ferguson said the gymnasium work totaled just under $2 million. The state paid for $1.3 million, and under $500,000 came from local share.
Also included in the high school's renovation costs were new windows installed throughout the entire building, with built-in, key-knob shades, and heavy-duty red doors.
"We were losing 60 percent of our heat in the wintertime at the high school," said Massare of post-renovation problems. "So these renovations should eliminate that loss and save us energy this coming winter."
Present alongside Massare at Monday night's unveiling were Ferguson, Director of Curriculum Zenaida Cobian, school board President Gregory T. Wright, board Vice President Rose-Ann Chiacchio, and members Ginger Sackes, Walter R. Sayers, Jr., Scott Cheeseman, Jeanette Harbeson and William Newmuis III.
The ROD grant also helped renovate the high school tennis courts, but that project won't be complete for another two weeks, said Massare.
Elsewhere in the district, the grant-funded HVAC central air-conditioning unit was installed in Lafayette-Pershing School. Ferguson said the installation totaled just more than $800,000. Almost $600,000 was grant-funded, and $215,000 came from the local purpose share.
"It was very hot in there, as the school hadn't been rebuilt since 1990," said Massare. "Now, all the kids and teachers are thrilled with the cool setting, it makes for an environment conducive to learning."
At Field Street School, the grant funded nearly $46,000 in new vinyl flooring. More than $16,000 was covered by the local purpose share. The flooring totaled $62,500.
"At Field Street, which houses our first-, second- and third-graders, we had to put in the new vinyl flooring," said Massare. "It used to have old carpeting that smelled, and we were afraid of eventual rotting. It needed to be replaced."
But of all the updates, the new high school gym was Monday night's focal point.
"Of all the projects, the gym was the most visible with regard to renovations," said Massare.
He added the gymnasium will be thoroughly enjoyed this coming December, when basketball season starts.
The gym walls have even been painted with the inscription, "Home of the Red Devils."
But for the rest of the high school, the new gym is a benefit that's already being enjoyed.
"The high school students are already using the new gymnasium for their gym classes," he said. "The first day of school, they couldn't believe how light and well-ventilated the gym was. It's state-of-the-art."
Of the total $2.75 million it cost to renovate various schools in the district, Ferguson said more than $729,000 came from the local purpose share, and more than $2 million from the state grant.