District Moves Ahead with Middle School Addition
Pending state approval, construction on the $3m expansion to Maplewood Middle School will begin this fall.
The South Orange-Maplewood School District expects to break ground on a three-story addition to the Maplewood Middle School sometime in mid-fall, according to recent district plans.
"As soon as we get the go ahead from the (state), we will begin the bidding process," said Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider in an email. "This is expected to take place this fall. We are working towards having the addition available for the 2013-14 school year."
The addition will provide three new classrooms, four new science labs, a prep room and new bathrooms. The district planned the addition in response to projections of increased enrollment over the next few years.
The project is estimated to cost around $3 million, which includes architect fees, construction costs and contingency funds for cost overruns.
Funding for the project was approved along with numerous other capital projects by the Board of Education in December and by the Board of School Estimate in January.
The project has raised concern among some residents who live near the school. Several have questioned the addition's design and cost, while others worry about the potential noise and disruption during construction.
The district held an informational meeting with residents in May. Although the meeting was recorded, it was erased due to a technical glitch.
Schneider said the architect's plans include information on staging and planning to address both school schedules and neighbors' concerns, including access to the construction and placement of materials. "Whatever can be done to minimize disruption to neighbors," she said.
The district has been collecting residents' emails to keep them updated on construction progress. "In addition, once we have more definitive timelines we will distribute notices to neighbors about a neighborhood meeting to help answer specific questions," said Schneider.