School board updates community on long-anticipated projects

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Bay Head Elementary School has confirmed a new positive case of coronavirus. [PHOTO BY THE OCEAN STAR

BAY HEAD — The Bay Head Board of Education provided updates to the public at its last meeting of the year on a number of projects currently underway and being planned for Bay Head Elementary School.

“The pickleball court will probably be painted in the spring because it has to be 55 degrees or above for the surface for a solid week for the best results so rather than doing it and having it fade or not be the best it could be we will wait until we have a solid string of good weather, but all the equipment is in,” member Shannon Curtis said during the buildings and grounds report at the board’s Nov. 23 meeting.

“The playground, we all agree, is an absolute disaster, and we want everybody to know that that is being pushed up as a major priority for all of us to get a poured surface down there, so we are actively working toward that.”

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The long-awaited renovations to the school portico were also addressed during the meeting.

“The portico has been measured and the architect and our structural engineer should be thanked very much, because they are donating their service [and] saving us many thousands of dollars,” Ms. Curtis said.

“I know people are frustrated that that has not been done, but there is a tremendous amount of architectural and engineering work. You wouldn’t think it when you look at the few columns, but it is a major project and it should only take one to two weeks to actually construct.

“You can’t really hammer the front of the building where it is disruptive to the students, but if it can be done over spring break with only a limited disruption to the classrooms, then we’ll try to do it then, is my understanding.”

Business Administrator Patricia Christopher spoke further with The Ocean Star about the project.

“The portico had to be removed because it became unsafe. We have been working with an engineer and architect who have donated their services to prepare plans for a replacement.  They are Rich Tokarski of Tokarski Millemann Architects and Del Palechev of MMP Engineers.  We have not yet gone out to bid for a contractor. We are hoping that the work, once the contract is awarded, can be completed quickly,” she said.

Also discussed was work at the school library.

“We got some good insurance news. We’ll be getting some money to offset the costs of the remediation there, so that is a bonus, and some of the construction has begun … so it looks pretty good so far,” member Eric Pritchard said. “Mark [Bish, facilities manager] is bringing some of the furniture back in there … so looking pretty good with that.”

“The library building had to be remediated for mold due to a problem with the HVAC system on the school side of the building. We have been told that we will be getting $25,000 from our insurance company towards those costs. Since we had the opportunity while the building was empty we did some renovation of the office area and are refurbishing the space to be a STEAM classroom,” Ms. Christopher added.

Ms. Curtis recently attended the final meeting of the Bay Head Borough Council earlier this month to discuss another project she is hoping to get support for in the coming year.

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