The BOE will put the project out to bid again in the coming months in an attempt to find a lower price.
The $6.9 million renovations will be completed through a tax increase of just less than $50 per year for the owner of the average city home valued at about $375,000. The tax increase will be in effect for the next 15 years due to the length of the bonding necessary to complete the project.
The renovations will include external improvements, 29 classrooms, 10 bathrooms, a gymnasium, an auditorium and a cafeteria. Most of the interior renovations will be done on the second floor of the building, located on Westwood Avenue.
Long Branch School District Michael Salvatore has said the building will likely be used to house high school students; most likely freshmen. He said the high school is close to its maximum capacity and more space is needed for students.
In 2014 the New Jersey Department of Education awarded the district with $3.9 million to help make the building habitable once again. Those improvements included the modernization of the building's utilities, including the fire suppression system, as well as the renovation of 12 classrooms, 8 offices, 3 bathrooms, auditorium and gym on the first floor. Tormee Construction, of Tinton Falls, was awarded the bid to handle the the first phase of improvements.
The renovation project will take about 12-15 months to complete.