July 2, 2018-- Members of the Board of Education and Toms River Regional Schools administration met with representatives from the district’s engineering and consulting design firm last week to finalize a project list for its Rebuild Our Schools Initiative.
Led by Board Vice President and Building and Grounds Committee Chair Joe Nardini, the presented report includes security upgrades and air conditioning every classroom in each of the Toms River Regional School District’s eighteen (18) school buildings, and is the foundation of a January 2019 referendum.
The project list has been refined after 19 public meetings at each school building this past spring, from which-- in combination with contact forums on the district’s Rebuilding Our Schools webpage-- the district acquired crucial feedback from families and Toms River residents.
What began as a projected $164-plus-million project not including some $30 million in “additions” such as A/C in every classroom, playgrounds, security enhancements, and paving has been redeveloped into a $147-million report that includes each of those upgrades, which the community identified as essential.
Nearly $18 million in project upgrades will also be implemented at a net-zero cost thanks to the district’s enrollment in the self-funding Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP) starting this month.
The district and board are finalizing a proposal which it will submit to the New Jersey Department of Education before the end of July.
“Through our series of community meetings and the invaluable input we received from our families and residents, we’ve been able to narrow the scope of the plan to focus on essential projects, and at the least possible impact to taxpayers,” said Superintendent David Healy. “This is an initiative that’s been years in the making.
“The final project list serves as an example of our district and school board listening to our community, acting on their concerns, and including them in the process throughout.”
Maser Consulting was contracted by the board to conduct an in-depth district-wide facilities assessment. At the conclusion of the seven-month assessment, the board and district developed the Rebuilding Our Schools Initiative.
“The report we’ve put together includes projects specific to each of our 18 schools and five out buildings, and we simply could not have cultivated this list without the feedback of parents and community members,” said Board President Russell Corby. “We will continue to engage our community and keep them informed in the weeks and months ahead.”
The full proposal document outlining all projects will be posted publicly to the district’s Rebuilding Our Schools webpage prior to its official submission. The school board will be scheduling subsequent public meetings with details forthcoming.
The district will continue to regularly update its webpage on the initiative and referendum, and encourages the community to remain informed and to utilize features such as the tax calculator and FAQ sheet.