$17M School Project starts in Riverside

   

By LISA HELEM     Burlington County Times

RIVERSIDE - District officials broke ground last night for a $17 million school expansion and renovation project to a design by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel, NJ. Addressing a crowd inside the all-purpose room at Riverside's combined high, middle and elementary schools shortly before officials ventured outside for a ceremonial first dig, Superintendent James Waskovich told the audience the project would "prepare (students) to meet the challenges of the 21st century."Evesham-based contractor Roland Aristone Inc. won the $6.6 million contract for construction work that includes a 48,529-square-foot elementary school addition that will connect to the district's early-childhood center.

The addition will house first through fifth grades and is expected to be complete by next September, in time for the start of a new school year, officials said. It will house classrooms, a computer lab, a media center and a cafeteria, among other new areas.Other parts of the project include last month's demolition of an antiquated annex and 76 new parking spaces on Grant Street.Stadium lights for the River-side High School football field, were completed in time for the varsity football team to play its first night game two weeks ago.

Other plans include renovations to all district buildings, new lockers for the middle school and renovations to the high school cafeteria and auditorium. That portion of the project is scheduled to go out to bid by mid-October.Taxpayers approved the project during a March 11 referendum. They will cover $7.8 million of the $17 million cost. The state Economic Development Authority is funding the re-maining $9.2 million.

Assemblyman Jack Conners, D-7th of Pennsauken, addressed about 80 who attended last night's ceremony."These kind of projects are not easy. There is a difficulty in getting referendums approved, so you are to be congratulated," he said. "The state of New Jersey is pleased to be part of this, to the tune of $9.2 million."

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