Holmdel school officials unveiled concept designs last week for renovations proposed as part of the $40.3 million “Holmdel 2020” plan.
The district could put the plan to a vote in a referendum as early as September. If approved, the plan would fund an overhaul at the William R. Satz Intermediate School and Holmdel High School, as well as some fixes at the elementary schools as well.
The plan includes renovations that some parents say are well overdue, though they wonder about the impact it could have on taxpayers. Here are the highlights of the “Holmdel 2020” presentation:
The days of wood shop are over at Holmdel Public Schools. The high school’s wood shop room, which is currently used as storage, would be converted into an engineering lab under the new plan.
Two of the four science classrooms at Satz would be converted into dedicated labs, providing more space for students to store lab experiments that may take several days to complete.
“Lessens aren’t one-day lessons in 45 minutes. They’re investigations that can span sometimes a week or sometimes longer,” Alicia Killean, supervisor of science and math, said at Wednesday’s meeting.
Even computer rooms are considered outdated to an extent. The plan proposes converting the computer rooms at Village elementary School into STEAM labs, or a maker space that students can use to learn about science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The plan recommends renovating one of the two Satz music rooms and converting the other into a robotics suite. School officials say most music students already use the high school music room instead of the Satz rooms.
Holmdel plans to join several other school districts in Monmouth County in rolling out a full-day kindergarten program including recess, but that’s if the referendum passes. The program, along with a plan to add three classrooms, was proposed as part of the plan.
Superintendent Robert McGarry said that if the referendum passed, full-day kindergarten would likely roll out some time before 2020, but he did not give a specific year. If the referendum failed, McGarry said, he did not have a plan for how to roll out a full-day kindergarten program.
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Terence Wall, a father who attended the school board meeting, said he worries the township falls behind others in implementing a full-day kindergarten program.
“Full Day kindergarten should be implemented regardless of the referendum,” he said. “Full Day kindergarten may not be incumbent on the referendum.”
McGarry said the school district needs to add the three classrooms before it can implement a full-day kindergarten program.
The plan recommends a variety of fixes in the fields as well as within the gym areas, most notably the renovation of the Satz locker rooms and the addition of a girls’ changing area on the first floor.
Other fixes around the Satz and high school building include refurbishing the four rear fields, adding bathrooms nearby, refurbishing the basketball courts and creating two tennis courts. The current tennis court, which officials say is sinking to the ground, would be restored to grass.
The plan recommends replacing the turf field and adding new stadium lights at Roggy Field, as well as replacing the gym floors at the elementary schools.
The plan proposes expanding the library to include a quiet area, an enlarged TV studio and small conference rooms with glass walls. For the Satz media center, the plan proposes expanding the library and adding a maker space.
The state would absorb $8.3 million of the $40.3 million tab, leaving local taxpayers with a bill of $32 million. That averages out to $182 per household.
McGarry said in an email that if the referendum were a “stand alone — not factoring the debt that is being retired from previous bonds — the impact on the average residential assessed home would be an estimated increase of over $380.”
the cost would go up to more than $380 per household. But he said he is confident the state aid would come through.
Some parents, including Barbara Singer, say that while the changes are much needed, they worry about the impact on taxpayers. She recalled the tax abatement deal with the Bell Labs Lucent redevelopers, whose taxes won’t go toward the school district.
“Bringing the school up to date is the future,” she said. “We need to see what’s in the details.”
The school board is seeking comments from the public about the plan. Comments can be emailed to [email protected]
See the full presentation below:
Steph Solis: 732-643-4277; [email protected]
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