Springfield mulls options for school referendum
DATE POSTED: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 11:08 PM EST
By Amber Cox, Special Writer


SPRINGFIELD - The Board of Education and the public heard four possible options for the district's planned school referendum to renovate the 73-year-old Springfield School.

Robert Garrison Jr., of Garrison Architects of Marlton, presented the board with the options on Dec. 20.

The board had originally proposed a March 13 date for the referendum but the vote will be postponed until September due to state funding issues. The state has still not announced when the next round of funds will be available for school construction projects.

Mr. Garrison has said he will work with the Department of Education to find out what's fundable and what's not and to get the maximum amount of money possible for the district.

All of the options included exterior and interior renovations, site renovations, electrical renovations and a new HVAC system for over $4 million, not including air conditioning. Air conditioning would cost an extra $2 million.

Part of the first option includes new construction for four classrooms; renovating the existing gym; replacing existing food service equipment; and relocating displaced site features to accommodate the new addition. This option would cost the district about $2.2 million.

The second option includes new construction of a gymnasium located in the front of the school; converting the existing gym into the kitchen and cafeteria, converting the existing cafeteria and kitchen into the computer lab and library; converting the library into two new classrooms; and the computer lab into a new classroom. This option would cost the district about $5 million.

The third option includes new construction of a gymnasium located in back of the school; converting the existing gym into the kitchen and cafeteria, converting the existing cafeteria and kitchen into the computer lab and library; converting the library into two new classrooms; and the computer lab into a new classroom. This option would cost the district about $4.8 million.

The fourth option includes new construction of a media center located in the front of the school; converting the library and computer lab into three new classrooms. This option would cost the district about $3.8 million.

Mr. Garrison added that the estimated state share would be 40 percent, diminishing the cost to taxpayers.

It is not yet clear when the state will release school construction funds.

Mr. Garrison said the issue of state funding is an important one because he can't see putting the whole burden of payment on the taxpayers given the state of the economy.

"We are going to keep planning," he said. "This plan is a working document, so we can go forward with something that the town will commit to."

The board also approved Environmental Resolutions of Mount Laurel to be site engineer of the project to help with things like the wetlands setback. The contract will not exceed $9,500.

The district has decided a referendum is necessary to keep the 73-year-old school safe for students. Referendums in 2009 and 2010 failed.


 

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