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Christie On Hand For Grand Opening Of Newest Long Branch School

LONG BRANCH: The district's newest school celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Gov. Chris Christie on Sept. 25.

The George L. Catrambone Elementary School was green lit by Christie and the School Development Authority, which dedicated $40 million for its construction, in 2011.

"When I took office and saw the past practices of the school construction program, it was imperative for us to take action with sweeping reforms at the SDA to ensure that the wasteful spending habits of previous administrations not be repeated," Christie said. "This is the first school to both start construction and open to students during my Administration and I am proud to say that we delivered it on time, on budget and with a certificate of occupancy in hand."

Construction of the school began in September, 2012 in the place of the old Elberon Elementary School, which was demolished in 2009 to make way for the Catrambone School.

The 109,000-square foot school is located 240 Park Ave., in the Elberon section of the city and currently educates 858 students from grades K-5. The facility includes 41 general classrooms, four self-contained special education classrooms, eight small group instruction rooms, a cafetorium with stage, computer room, gymnasium, media center/library, art room and music room.

"We want to build these schools in a way that they will last," Christie said. "The focus here is on learning and preparing for a very bright future."

The school is named after George Catrambone, who served as an educator for the Long Branch School district for nearly 38 years.

"It's named after you because you always put children first," Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore said.

The construction of the school allowed the district to take the nearly 100-year-old West End School offline. No buyer has been found the school and the district will now likely hold an auction to sell the school. Students who would have attended the West End School this year are currently taking classes at the Catrambone School.

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