LONG BRANCH: The construction that will make the original Long Branch High School reusable for students once again should begin soon.
During its June meeting, the Long Branch Board of Education unanimously voted to award a bid for the renovation of the school, located on Westwood Avenue, to Tormee Construction Inc., of Tinton Falls, in the amount of $4.3 million.
The district's plan is to use the old high school to house the district's alternative education program for 369 students with behavioral problems and learning disabilities. The district is currently holding its alternative education program at the Audrey W. Clark Academy of Alternative Programs. That school will then be used as learning space for elementary school children as enrollment continues to climb toward its highest point in district's history.
Tormee Construction will renovate the building's gym, auditorium, hallways and 12 classrooms with the hope of finishing the work in time for the 2016-17 school year.
The remaining construction will be done in two additional phases.
The second renovation phase will include the restoration of 18 additional classrooms on the first floor. The third phase will include the "restoration and enhancement" of the school's facade including the clock tower.
In 2014 the New Jersey Department of Education awarded the district with $3.9 million to help make the building habitable once again. Funds from the sale of school-owned properties such as the Church Street School and West End School will be used to help pay for future phases of renovation.