Ocean City to receive $2.4M grant for primary school facility improvements

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Ocean City to receive $2.4M grant for primary school facility improvements Ocean City to receive $2.4M grant for primary school facility improvements

TRENTON – Ocean City was named one of six school districts in Cape May County to receive Regular Operating District grant funding for construction projects Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Ocean City will receive $2.4 million toward nearly $6 million in renovations, including a new roof, HVAC, fire alarm and electrical systems, plumbing, exterior windows, doors and hardware at the Ocean City Primary School. These items were discussed at a March 5 public meeting hosted by the Ocean City Board of Education.

At the time, former Ocean City School business administrator Tom Grossi said that if the state did not approve the ROD grant, the district would consider a public referendum to fund the project.

On Thursday, Dec. 5, Mark Ritter, interim school business administrator, confirmed that the Ocean City School District was notified Wednesday afternoon of a ROD grant for part of the primary school project that involves exterior doors. The grant was for 40 percent, or $45,000, of the $113,000 project. Ritter said the school district hasn’t been notified of the $2.4 million ROD grant.

According to DOE spokesman Richard Vespucci, the DOE Office of School Facilities has not yet sent correspondence to Ocean City for the bulk of the ROD grant money it will receive.

“The bulk of the money for Ocean City will go towards replacing the windows and the roofing systems of the elementary school,” Vespucci said.

The state-funded ROD grants represent at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects in the regular operating districts and address health and safety issues, student overcrowding and other critical needs. The grants are contingent on local approval of the remaining cost to school districts.

In total, over $507 million in state funds will be spent throughout New Jersey to help fund 1,538 individual school construction projects in 331 school districts. Of the state funding, $5.8 million will go to support seven projects in six school districts in Cape May County, supporting a total of $14.4 million in school construction throughout the county.

“Cape May County students, teachers and school administrators will benefit from this infusion of more than half a billion dollars in state funding,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a release from the New Jersey Department of Education Dec. 4. “These grants will allow for efficient, state-of-the-art school facilities that will help foster an improved learning environment for our children.”
“This state and local partnership will go a long way in making sure that Cape May County students have safe, modern facilities for learning,” Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said.

The Department of Education determines the school projects receiving grant funds, which are administered by the Schools Development Authority. The DOE categorizes applications into three tiers, with Level 1 being the highest priority based on critical building upgrades, roof and window repairs, code issues, ADA upgrades, security systems and hazardous material abatement. The funding announced Wednesday addresses all Level 1 school facilities needs for all school districts in the state that submitted projects.

In addition to Ocean City, Upper Township, Middle Township, Stone Harbor, Wildwood and Cape May County Technical High School were all named ROD grant recipients.


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