Wenonah's $2.7M bond up for vote


Thursday, September 18, 2003
By Regina Schaffer rschaffer@sjnewsco.com

WENONAH -- Wenonah Elementary School is beginning to show its age, and Chief School Administrator Christine C. Smith is hoping borough voters will take notice and approve a $2.7 million bond referendum Sept. 30, designed by Garrison Architects.

If approved, the referendum will finance a number of capital improvements in the 108-year-old building, including the addition of two new rooms and a transition to a full-day kindergarten program.

"Now is the right time for us to move forward," Smith said Wednesday, citing low interest rates and financial assistance from the state.
"The state will give 30 percent of the cost, and that's a big cost difference," Smith said. Without state assistance, the project would cost $3.5 million. "We're a small community and it really is difficult for people to pay for these things."

The two new rooms will allow for a transition to full-day kindergarten -- which was requested by a number of borough parents last year -- and an art and music classroom.

"Music and art (classes) are traveling on a cart and we would like to rectify that," Smith said. "The programs are just hindered a bit, especially in the area of art." The referendum will also finance a number of infrastructure improvements, including upgraded fire alarm systems, improved handicapped accessibility and new exterior doors.

"These are things we will need to fix over the next couple years anyway," Smith said, "so it's better to put it in one lump sum and bond it out."
Smith said she is confident the referendum will be passed.

"We've been to a number of community groups, we've put out a learning letter, and it's in the borough newsletter this month," she said.
If the referendum is approved, work is scheduled to begin in the spring, Smith said, with a completion date slated for fall of 2005.

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