GLEN RIDGE, NJ — At Linden Avenue School, Principal Joseph Caravela said the improvements these past few months have been the most he has seen accomplished during any summer since he started at the school 15 years ago. Entering the building, bluestone steps have been installed.
“These steps are amazing,” he said earlier this week. “When they said we were getting new steps, I thought concrete.”
School attendance, he said, is currently 250 children. Linden is for pre-kindergarten to second-grade students.
Interior changes include two student bathrooms in the basement which have been redone. Another bathroom in the main office and the second-floor faculty bathroom have also been made brand new. These improvements were paid for by the 2017 referendum seeking funds to upgrade the school facilities and to reacquire the former Wells Fargo property on Bloomfield Avenue. Prompted by an increasing student population, that building will again be a Glen Ridge school. It is scheduled to open September 2019.
“We took on some big projects with the referendum, but we also did our own projects,” Caravela said.
Four classrooms have been repainted as well as three offices.
The faculty kitchen was gutted and new cabinets, a stove and sink were installed. Caravela said the next thing to be replaced will be the refrigerator.
The Linden Avenue Home and School got involved again this summer with its own project to upgrade the multipurpose room.
Two years ago, the space was given a facelift with new furniture, rugs and a paint job. This summer, an overhead projector was installed along with a movie screen.
“This screen is two, three times bigger than the old screen,” Caravela said as he lowered it.
He said a member of the Home and School, Beth Bernasconi, designed the multipurpose room and the faculty kitchen.
Some teachers were busy this final week getting things ready for the first day of school. Caravela said family members of instructors helped out. Glen Ridge schools reopen Tuesday, Sept. 4.
There will be four new teachers at Linden Avenue this year, he said. They are special education teacher Lyndsay Batikha; reading specialist Paula Horton; music teacher Elaina Frissell; and guidance counselor Kaitlyn Reilly. Four other teachers will be moving into new grade levels. With the summer vacation nearly behind him, Caravela said the doors to the school will be ready to open by the end of the week.