An estimate released by the Brick Township school district shows it would take $12.5 million to repair and rehabilitate school facilities, even after millions in capital projects have already been completed in recent years.
The repairs range from a $1,496,000 roof replacement for the Warren H. Wolf Elementary School (formerly the Primary Learning Center), to $1,297,637 for new baseball and softball fields at Brick Memorial High School, to $1,558,000 to replace a track at Brick Township High School.
Some of the biggest ticket items the district believes it must purchase come in the form of larger, capital projects, such as $1,500,000 for new security vestibules district-wide, another $1,500,000 for a second floor air conditioning system at Lake Riviera Middle School, and $750,000 for a central heating boiler covering multiple buildings. In all, the list of proposed projects adds up to $12,566,946.
The district’s priorities going forward will be projects involving safety, officials said, though there were no details on how the projects would be funded. In many cases, bonding for such projects would require a referendum to be approved by voters, but Board of Education President John Lamela has said no referendums are currently planned. Officials did, however, point out which projects would be given the strongest consideration.
“We’re living in an age now where we have to worry about security, and we have to have these safe doors,” said William Kolibas, Director of Facilities, at a recent board meeting.
The track at Brick Township High School is damaged to the point where track and field events can no longer be safely hosted there, and drainage issues continue to plague Brick Memorial High School.
“After a quick shower, that field is not playable for a week,” Kolibas said.
As for the BTHS track: “I don’t want everyone to think this is merely an after-school sports issue,” said Principal William Kleissler. “The gym classes have to cone off locations around the track so you do not fall off into the obstructions.”
The laundry list of items comes after the district has already spent millions of dollars on facilities projects in recent years. In 2015, a previous board of education spent $5.7 million in upgrades to Brick Township High School, and going back to 2012, there were projects to rebuild the track at Brick Memorial High School, replace the bleachers at Brick Township High School’s football field, and build state-of-the-art science labs at Brick Township High School.
Funding for projects has, historically, been difficult to come by in Brick. In 2010, several board of education members were swiftly ousted from office after they imposed fees for middle school sports participation. The last time a referendum was proposed – a $172 million funding question in 2009 – it was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.