$2.5 million school bond referendum scheduled for March 11 in Ocean City

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Public information meeting Feb. 19

$2.5 million school bond referendum scheduled for March 11 in Ocean City $2.5 million school bond referendum scheduled for March 11 in Ocean City

OCEAN CITY — Taxpayers will be asked to fund $2,497,422 for infrastructure repairs at the Ocean City Primary School on March 11.

Members of the Ocean City Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution providing for a special school election at a Wednesday, Jan. 29 board meeting.

If approved, the $2.5 million from the referendum will be combined with a $2,399,279 Regular Operating District grant from the state of New Jersey, and $1,101,497 from the school district’s capital reserve to pay for the $5,998,198 project.

The ROD grant was announced in December. It pays for about 40 percent of the project.

Architect Scott England, of Regan Young England Butera in Mount Holly, who was appointed to prepare the plans and specifications for the project, said the grant funding was much welcomed and reflective of the worth of the project. If the referendum passes, the work will be done in the summer of 2015.

“You got 40 percent funding on every eligible item,” England said. “The Department of Education received over 3,000 applications, and a lot of districts did not get funding. The state Department of Education felt strongly enough about this project that they were willing to fund it when they didn’t fund some other projects.”

England said that with low interest rates – 2.5 percent – and low construction costs, the project made sense.

“It’s a super deal, it really is,” school business administrator Pat Yacovelli said. “The interest rates are unreal, super, super attractive rates.”

The primary school was built in 1965. A two-story addition on the Sixth Street side was added in 1989.

“Your maintenance staff and the board of education should be commended,” England said. “The school has great bones. It’s been well maintained.”

Using a PowerPoint presentation, England showcased the scope of the project.

“We are going to replace all of the windows in the original building,” he said. “They are all between 24 and 48 years old. The average useful life of a window is 20 to 25 years.”

A new HVAC system will be installed and the roof replaced.

“The roof has served you well,” he said.

England said the water heater is very old, as are the smoke detectors. External lighting will be added. There is also asbestos in some of the windows that must be dealt with.

Corridor doors will be replaced for safety and security reasons, he said. A “Columbine lock,” which allows teachers to lock the classroom door from the inside, will be installed on each door, he said.

“We’ll also be replacing some of the existing doors and frames,” England said.

Tom Oves, chairman of the school board’s buildings and grounds committee, said he was pleased with the project as presented by England. He said a new HVAC system will provide air-conditioned comfort for students and staff while adding efficiency. The new boiler is expected to go from 70 to 90 percent efficient, he said.

“The chillers used to be water-cooled, now they will be air-cooled,” he said. “We can control zones. If classrooms are not being used in the summer, we can turn the temperature up.”

The system, he said, offers a humidity sensor, which will prevent a breakout of mold – a big issue for the district in the past.

Yacovelli said he fully supported the referendum.

“We must capitalize on the current grant funding,” Yacovelli said. “The district, through years of fiscally responsible management, has funds in its capital reserve that will reduce the amount to be issued for school bonds.

“We are making an investment in energy efficiency and maintaining a comfortable climate in the building,” he said.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the services of financial advisor Phoenix Advisors, LLC of Bordentown for the bonding.

The proposal, which was awarded without competitive bidding in accordance with state law, because it is considered extraordinary and un-specifiable in nature, was for $7,250. Yacovelli said hiring a financial advisor was a good idea.

“With the savings generated over the life of the bond, the cost will be recouped in the first year,” he said.

Financial advisors, he said, work with the bond industry on a daily basis and are more familiar with the best deals and inner workings.

Board member Ray Clark, chairman of the board’s publicity committee, said the board is planning an informational meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. prior to the February board meeting. Those interested will be able to view the plans for the project and ask questions.

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Ocean City Schools’ March bond referendum still on schedule


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