County officials and construction trades unions sign labor agreement

Photo Courtesy of Glen Frieson
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., seated third from left, signs a project labor agreement on Jan. 30 to ensure members from the construction trades unions are hired to work on the expansion and modernization of the Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology. With the county executive are, seated from left, Essex County Schools of Technology Board President Father Ed Leahy, Essex County Schools of Technology Superintendent James Pedersen and Lino Santiago, representing the construction trades unions; and, standing from left, Essex County Chief of Staff Phil Alagia, Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff William Payne, Freeholder Patricia Sebold, Freeholder President Brendan Gill, Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology Principal Ayisha Ingram-Robinson and Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson.

NEWARK, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. joined with Essex County Schools of Technology to sign a project labor agreement with local construction trades unions on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The agreement ensures that union workers will be hired to work on the renovation and expansion of the Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology. This summer, the building will undergo a $30 million makeover.

“We are improving our West Caldwell Campus to ensure our students have the most modern classrooms in which to learn. The West Caldwell school facilities are outdated and must be modernized so they can accommodate and meet the needs of our progressive academic curriculum,” DiVincenzo said. “We are pleased to partner with our local building trades unions to provide the trained and professional workforce to update our school building. This project is an opportunity to create jobs and provide a school facility that will meet the needs of our students for generations to come.”

“We are eager to start work on the West Caldwell School project. We appreciate the relationship with the county and appreciate how you feel about the importance of the building trades unions,” said Lino Santiago, business representative with the international Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, who represented the construction trades unions.

“I grew up in a union family and I understand how important this is for the men and women represented by labor. I thank the county executive, our contractors and unions for creating a great environment for our students to learn,” Essex County Schools of Technology Board President Father Ed Leahy said.

“I want to thank the county executive for providing our school district with the resources it needs to modernize all of our school buildings, including our West Caldwell Campus. This is another exciting project taking place in our district and we welcome the support of the unions to get this completed for our students,” Essex County Schools of Technology Superintendent James Pedersen said.

“A project labor agreement is not an abstract concept. We understand the importance of our labor unions and the role they play in constructing our infrastructure and buildings,” said Freeholder President Brendan Gill, who was accompanied by Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson and Freeholder Patricia Sebold.

At the end of the current school year, work to completely renovate the Essex County West Caldwell School of Technology will begin. A two-story addition will be constructed onto the front of the building and the existing structure will be completely updated. Being improved are facilities for the Career and Technical Education Construction Lab, greenhouse, media center, cosmetology, music production, and culinary and baking programs. There will be eight new classrooms, a new multipurpose room for physical education and performing arts classes, a new weight room, and a renovated cafeteria and kitchen. In addition, security systems will be upgraded.

DiCara Rubino Architects, from Wayne, was awarded a professional services contract for $1,790,000 to design the improvements and classroom addition. Dobco Inc., from Wayne, was awarded a publicly bid contract for $29,855,000 to perform the construction work. Joseph Jingoli & Sons Inc., from Lawrenceville, received a $840,855 contract to serve as the construction manager of the project. Promatech Inc., from New York City, was awarded an $81,307 contract to serve as the contract monitor and compliance officers on the project. The school construction project is being funded with a grant from the state of New Jersey.

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