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Livingston BOE Reviews School Renovation Plans at Meeting

Jeremiah Lim

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 • 5:05pm

LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Board of Education (BOE) reviewed plans for renovations to the district's elementary schools at its voting meeting on Monday night. Architect Allen Barnett of DiCara Rubino Architects presented the renovations to the board.

The referendum to make the renovations was approved in March 2013. Since that time, several adjustments were made to the original schematics that were originally submitted for approval. Board Business Administrator Steven K. Robinson said that the new changes are well within the original cost estimate of the project. Burnett also took care to mention that any changes were submitted after extensive consultation with principals and staff teachers.

The changes include:

Burnet Hill: An adjustment to the school's two resource rooms will not take place. Instead, the central hallway will be extended into a currently vacant space and converted into a breakout area. This area will be more exposed to natural light. The multipurpose storage area will be expanded. One classroom will be divided into two small-group instruction rooms geared for special education.

"Over the course of the project, we found more teachers wanted small group spaces," Burnett said.

The rooms will accommodate six students each. A gypsum wall will be installed to separate the  rooms, which will allow for an easy conversion back to a larger classroom space should the need arise.

"We could take that wall down in a matter of a day if we really had to," Robinson added.

Collins: The current media center will be converted into an art room. The new media center will be an L-shaped construction and will be flipped from its original configuration.

According to Barnett, “The technology room (located in the media center) will be enclosed with a glass partition, which will retain its visual connection with the rest of the media center, while also allowing for a higher level of privacy.”

Floor outlets will also be installed, which will allow students to be more flexible in using the space. Overall, 28 computer stations will be installed.

Harrison: The media center will be rotated so that the center will open up the parent drop-off area. There will now be two points of exit from the media center.

Hillside: The breakout area will be enlarged, subdivided and enclosed to create more small-group instruction spaces.

Riker Hill: A classroom will be subdivided to create two small-group instruction spaces. The computer lab will be in enclosed within the media center.

While the plans and schematics are not currently available for public consumption, Board President Barry Funt requested that the schematics be made available to better inform parents and Livingston residents.

Other Business

Superintendent Dr. John Alfieri announced that the new Academic Performance Reports will be released by the New Jersey Department of Education around noontime Tuesday. The data is meant to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a school district. Alfieri said that "at first glance," the results reflect very well on Livingston Public Schools.

Alfieri also clarified the revised schedule measures that will be taken in the event of another cancelled school day due to inclement weather. As Livingston's school district has already used its three allotted weather days, any future cancellations will result in additional days to the school calendar. Alfieri noted that this measure would not push back the date of graduation ceremonies, but would rather mean a reduction in the spring recess. 

Retirees Honored

Several district employees will end their tenures with the Livingston Public Schools at various points during the school year including Sergio Jara, Richard Stella, J. Kenneth Newell and Mary Suessmann, who were commended by the Board for their years of service.

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