2020 vote set for Belmar Elementary School repairs

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Students from Lake Como attend Belmar Elementary School from kindergarten to eighth grade. FILE PHOTO THE COAST STAR

BELMAR — The board of education will let residents decide whether or not the district will be able to rehabilitate Belmar Elementary School’s aging auditorium as well as replace its ventilation system, floors and windows for $9.7 million. 

The ballot question, which will be put to voters as part of a special election scheduled for March 10, 2020, was approved at the board’s meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21. 

“In terms of the auditorium, we have some things that have to be fixed in terms of safety and in terms of air quality, we also have items that have to be taken care of for the student’s health,” Superintendent David Hallman said. 

At that meeting the board invited two representatives of Spiezle Architectural Group, Steven Siegel and Jim Repka, to give a rundown of what will be included in the referendum which will focus on the district’s “most critical needs.” 

“Individually these are projects that are too large to fit in the budget, I think that is probably more than half of the whole district so to try and do a project in one year is not that feasible with this kind of work.” Mr. Siegel said. 

Plans call for the renovation of the school’s auditorium, located on the lower level of the school, valued at $1.5 million. It would include new seating, new flooring, upgrades to the theatrical lighting and sound system, wheel-chair lift for access to the stage and upgrades to the backstage area. 

Replacing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning [HVAC] system would cost $6.6 million. The proposal includes replacing ventilators in all classrooms, exhaust fans, HVAC control systems on all floors and electrical upgrades. The proposed new HVAC system will allow for dehumidification, which is a feature in the current system. 

New flooring is expected to cost $1.1 million. The district would replace flooring throughout the school’s classroom, hallways and stairway landings as part of the proposal. 

Window replacement is expected to cost $500,000. According to Mr. Repka windows were replaced throughout most of the school a number of years ago, but not in the 1993 addition to the school, located at the back of the building. The new windows would be energy efficient.

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