Board of Education Debates Possibility of Aquatic Center at Columbia High School
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 • 6:43am
MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Board of Education for Maplewood and South Orange met on Oct. 15 to discuss the addition of a new aquatic center to Columbia High School.
The new addition would be built in the current gym parking lot on Parker Avenue. The plan includes a six-lane pool, a fitness center and a corridor for trophy cases.
The proposal for the current pool space is to turn it into flexible classroom space. The rooms will be divided by a moving partition that can be collapsed to create a larger space for public functions such as music performances, career and college nights.
“The way of the future is to have this flexible classroom space,” said Cheryl Schneider, business administrator.
Each room will have 1,798 square feet, larger than the average Columbia High School classroom, which ranges from 700 to 900 square feet. More of the collapsable walls can be added to create more classrooms if desired.
The current fitness center would also be converted into two new classrooms. The board suggested creating new science labs in the space. Board president Beth Daugherty said with these changes the school can look at creating academic clusters. By grouping subjects together in location the hope would be to see increased collaboration between teachers. The new space is anticipated to provide room for an additional 200 students.
An official decision will be made in February after the specifics costs are available. If the board approves the plan, construction on the new aquatic center will start in the summer of 2013 and end in the fall of 2014. The renovation of the current pool space would begin after. The board stressed that more important than the new aquatic center would be the changes happening within Columbia High School with these additional classrooms.