Click here to view the revised calendar: 2013-2014 Revised Calendar.
This message is to inform you that the Salem County Health Department will be offering free flu vaccinations at a clinic in our area. The clinics will be held at the Salem County Vocational-Technical Schools and the Salem County Health Department office.
There will be a clinic on November 13 at the Salem County Vo-Tech from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
There will be additional evening clinics from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Salem County Health Department offices. Evening clinic dates at the Salem County Health Department offices are October 15, 22, and 29. Their offices are located at 110 Fifth Street in Salem.
All clinics are open to any resident ages 3 years and up. For children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old, two evening clinics will be held at the Salem County Health Department. Those dates are November 12 and November 19, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
For more clinic dates and times, please go to www.SalemCountyNJ.gov/Health or call the County Health Department at 856/935-7510.
We hope you will take advantage of these free flu shots, which are made available by the Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Since the last update on August 9, much has been happening as we prepared to have things ready for the opening day of school. It was very close, but we got it done. This was due to the extraordinary efforts by many people throughout our organization who exhibited a real “esprit de corps” in embracing the challenges that we faced.
EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER (ECLC): As I mentioned in my last report, because of the legal proceedings that delayed the opening of the new ECLC on East Lake Road, we are renting space from St. Joseph’s Center until the new building is ready in late October or early November. The lease agreement was approved at a special Board of Education meeting on August 8. We began moving in on August 15. Overall this was quite a logistical undertaking which began back in June when the Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms were moved out of the Mary Shoemaker School into trailers to make room for the 5th grade moving into Mary Shoemaker. The items were staged in the trailers until we knew where we would be going, which was contingent on the outcome of the legal proceedings. This was not finalized until August 8 whereupon the New Jersey Appellate Court denied the appeal of the contractor who was challenging the bid and they withdrew their challenge. Our maintenance staff and Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers, under the direction of Dwayne Hickman – Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds, Frank Rizzo – School Business Administrator, and Diane Cioffi – Building Principal respectively, did a terrific job in getting all of this done in time for the orientation programs held during the last week in August. As you can see via pictures posted on our Facebook page, our teachers and maintenance staff had quite a daunting task in unpacking and sorting through all the classroom supplies and moving the furniture into the classrooms at St. Joe’s. Because of their efforts, I am happy to say that today’s first day of school went quite smoothly and everything was up and ready to go.
HIGH SCHOOL/MIDDLE SCHOOL (HS/MS) NEW SCIENCE LABS AND ROOFING PROJECT: This schedule was even tighter than that of the ECLC. We virtually went to the eleventh hour in getting these areas completed for today’s opening. This was due to nothing short of herculean efforts by our maintenance crew and the contractors, under the direction of Frank Rizzo, Dwayne Hickman, and Bruce Harkins – Construction Manager. It wasn’t until 10:00 p.m. last evening that I was notified that the science rooms would be ready by about 6:00 a.m. this morning. In addition, as with any construction project, what you can always expect is the unexpected. That occurred in the case of our HS/MS media center where the roofing contractors spilled tar onto the carpet and it then needed to be replaced. So within the last few weeks, all of the furniture and books had to be moved out of the media center into the hallways, the carpet removed, a new carpet installed, and the furniture and contents moved back in from the hallways by today. Once again, our maintenance department staff worked into the night to get this completed for today.
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: 06/18/13
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: 06/14/13
As it turned out, both the Superior Court and the Appellate Court denied the initial requests for a stay on the project. Having said that, the contractor still intends to appeal further but the request for a stay may not be heard for more than one month or more from now, at which point the modular construction portion of the project to which this bid pertains will be well along and possibly near completion. Accordingly, as per court order, at the June 13th special meeting, the Board of Education awarded the bid as directed. Fortunately, this means that the completion date has now been projected for a much shorter delayed opening, that being mid-September to mid-October of this year. The pace and progress of the project and the requisite term of the delay will be the determining factors in the contingency plan we implement. If it is only a short-term delay, then our option will be to have a delayed start of the year for the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. If the delay will be longer, then we will house our students at an appropriate New Jersey Department of Education approved alternate site within our constituent district. We are still waiting to firm up the specifics of the latter plan and will let everyone know as soon as we do. This plan also provides for the 5th grade to move to the Mary Shoemaker School for the beginning of the school year as per the original plan.
The purpose of this communication is to provide for you an update on the WPRSD construction project. Up to this juncture in time, the construction project has been proceeding as expected with project bids being issued and then awarded with still more to come. We have had a few bumps in the road with some of the regulatory agencies but nothing that would put us significantly behind schedule…up to now. Unfortunately, we have been officially notified that one of the unsuccessful bidders on the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) project has filed a protest on the bid award with the courts. The court date has been scheduled for May 20th. This means all work on the ECLC project has to be halted until the case is adjudicated. Once things go into court, it becomes very difficult to predict timelines. Accordingly, in the case that the process would delay the opening of the ECLC, the administration will be formulating a contingency strategy. We will keep everyone appraised of such as we move forward in the event that this ends up being a protracted delay. (Please know that because this case is now in litigation, as per advice of counsel, I am precluded from offering any further information regarding the specifics of the case.)
As for the High School/Middle School renovations and additions, all plans have been finalized and approved and we expect to award bids this week. Actual construction work is scheduled to begin in mid-May. The first portion of the work will start with the renovation of the current ag building into science/ag science rooms. Classes currently utilizing the building are scheduled to relocate on or about May 15th. Classes are expected to be able to continue regular instruction in their new locations. Some light site work in preparation for construction staging will also be commencing and the public will be duly notified of any change in traffic or parking patterns at that time. It is expected that this phase of the project will last through the summer with the Middle School multi-purpose room continuing into the fall.
We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and patience as the construction phase begins to commence. We intend to keep the public fully informed with timely updates as it progresses. To that end, we will be creating a “Construction Projects” webpage on our website for the public to access the latest information. We will send e-mail notifications when the new updates are posted. If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for our “District” E-Alerts on our website so that you receive these e-mail updates. We will also be posting the updates on Facebook, so “friend” us for that communication. Please note that we used all three schools' e-alert e-mail lists for this communication to make sure we reached everyone because not many people have signed up for the district distribution list. This may have resulted in you receiving multiple copies of this communication.
We hope that the aforementioned communication strategies will keep everyone informed and updated. As always, if you have any questions now or as we move forward, please do not hesitate to contact me or the respective Principal(s) of the school(s) your child attends.
Tom Coleman, Superintendent