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Oceanport BOE Ironing Out Details Of New School Construction

OCEANPORT: The plan to build a new school in the borough is moving quickly and could result in a referendum question for voters this year.

Oceanport Board Of Education (BOE) Vice President Jay Coffey said the latest plan is to demolish Wolf Hill School and make it the district's middle school and convert Maple Place School into a grammar school. Originally, the board was focusing on selling the Wolf Hill School property and expanding Maple Place, but Coffey said the difficult topography and potential ingress and egress problems at the Maple Place property put a halt on that plan.

He said the new Wolf Hill School would likely be a 2-story building and that Maple Place would be retrofitted to accommodate younger children by having lower blackboards, lower bathroom facilities and making the entire school ADA compliant.

Coffey said this approach will be cheaper than other alternatives and will preserve the neighborhood-feel of the schools.

"It keeps the character of the community intact," Coffey said. "Our schools are in the middle of two residential areas and this way, our kids can still walk to school."

BOE members have determined that Fort Monmouth is no longer be considered as an option as a home for a new school.

Coffey said one of the decisions that still have to be made is if the two projects should be done simultaneously, and if so, where would the students go in the interim. One possibility is setting up a temporary school at the old CommVault building on Crescent Place. Coffey said the space would be large enough to serve as a temporary school and that there have been some discussions with the building owner.

There will be public information meetings held in the next few weeks to educate residents on the proposed projects and their costs.

Coffey said the board hopes to have a September referendum question asking residents if they support the creation of the new school and the retrofitting of Maple Place School. He said the age of the Wolf Hill School is becoming a problem and that now is the time to address it.

"We have a 110-year-old building at Wolf Hill and every penny we put into fixing it is money we are wasting," he said.

Read more from: Oceanport

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