GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Students arriving back to Glen Ridge schools this September will recognize improvements to some of the facilities. But what they may or may not know is that much of the work could not have be done without the help of parents working through individual home and school associations.
At the high and middle school building, Principal Louis Melchor said in addition to routine summer maintenance there have been larger projects.
“The library is having a huge makeover,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “The Home and School Association and the Glen Ridge Board of Education have paid to renovate it.”
Melchor said bookcases have been removed and there will be new furniture, fans and window treatments.
“The furniture will be tech-friendly,” he said. “Each table will have a screen for collective learning.”
There will be a student area for printing with recharging stations. “We’re going to a one-to-one initiative,” he said. “Every student will get a Chromebook, a small laptop.”
The library has been repainted, but Melchor said it will not be getting a new rug. The circulation desk has been moved and there will be Dell teaming tables.
The gym bleachers frames were fixed for $38,000, Melchor said, and a new motor for the gym curtain winch was installed. Outside the school, walkways in disrepair were removed and new concrete sections poured. There was also an upgrade to the handicap ramp.
At Linden Avenue School, Principal Joseph Caravela said the multi-purpose room was given a makeover.
“The Home and School raised the money,” he said. “We basically gutted the whole room. It has custom shelving, new plastering, carpentry and murals.”
A make-space has been added to the room.
“This is where kids can build things, with light circuitry, gears and Lego,” he said.
There is also new seating. The entire project Caravela estimated cost around $80,000.
There will also be new covers for the radiators and work is on schedule. He expected it to be done the third week in August.
“I can’t recall when the room was worked on last,” he said. “We needed to increase shelving. The Home and School refinished the baby grand piano to a high-gloss black.’
He said additional lighting was under way.
The new look of the room has a color scheme of robin’s egg blue with a yellow accent wall, Caravela said. Opposite to the accent wall is a mosaic, painted by parents. Caravela described it as intertwining triangles of different colors.
“It looks pretty neat,” he said.
The carpet is navy blue with speckles of blue and green.
“That’s where they picked up the colors for the mosaic,” he said.
The carpeting is in individual squares which can be removed singly.
“The rest of the school had a general cleaning,” he said. “The desks were taken out of the rooms and cleaned; the floors were stripped.”
He said no other room in the school was repainted except for the multi-purpose room.
“That’s the big project this summer,” he said.
At Ridgewood Avenue School, Principal Mike Donovan said summer has been a quiet in terms of changes.
“Just some general painting,” he said. “But we are working on a campaign to design a new maker-space instead of working on different projects. We’ve been looking at different ventures.”
Once the teachers return, Donovan said he wanted to get their input about a new maker-space.
“The Home and School is running a campaign,” he said. “It began at the end of May.”
Donovan said $10,000 has been raised so far.
“It’s going to be a space to allow kids to use their imagination,” he said. “It will focus on STEAM: science, technology, art and mathematics.”
Different teachers will be involved in different ways, giving the students an opportunity for “an exciting adventure” during the school day and after class, Donovan said.
At Forest Avenue School, Principal Matthew Murphy said, like other schools in the district, his multi-purpose room is being renovated. He said the Home and School Association was responsible for raising the $55,000 for the project.
“It’s allowed us to bring in a professional designer,” he said. “It’s pretty much a new room.”
New ceiling tiles have been put up, new window shades installed, the room has been repainted in red, teal and orange, and new carpeting has been tacked down. A smartboard has been installed with a delineated area for it use.
Murphy said the multi-purpose room is used for music concerts, staff meetings, community gatherings, pretty much everything that attracts a crowd. Built-in book shelves have been replaced by portable shelves.
“There’s a lot of portable furniture we didn’t have last year,” he said. “We can change the environment quickly.”
Otherwise, maintenance this summer at the school has been routine: some painting, stripping and waxing of floors to make the place sparkle, he said.