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School District Reports Technology, Facilities Plans

LONG BRANCH: The school district tossed out some half-century old items, planned for facilities upgrades, and reported security enhancements at several of its schools recently.

The school district's operation and management committee met in September to update the school board on these and other projects.

Among them, a $185,000 estimated cost to add wireless coverage to the three pre-schools, Morris Avenue, LWC and JMF, the only schools in the district which do not have wireless coverage. Long Branch is looking for funding for the project, according to a report by committee chairperson Armand Zambrano.

"There is still the trickle down plan, installing new wires in some buildings and putting the older wireless in the pre-schools, but it is all contingent upon e-rate funding," he said.

One older school, the Audrey W. Clark School, also had many older furniture and fixtures removed and replaced over the summer. Original sinks, more than 50 years old, were replaced and original cabinets were refaced in each classroom. Outdated and damaged televisions were tossed, and teacher desks and chairs were replaced. The school also received an updated Nurse's office.

The Audrey Clark library was split into two rooms, with the new room becoming a life skills room for students. The list of work was completed before the first day of school, officials said.

The High School's sports facilities also received some attention and had project plans' laid out in the committee's report. For example, the high school football field had its turf put back, and an underground retention basin is ready for excavation, underneath the volleyball courts, which will use a crane during construction.

The baseball field had its sod replaced, and clay added to infield, with the promise the district is working to rebuild the field for the spring season. That includes rebuilding the pitcher's mound, and batters' boxes, treating the baseball field area for weeds, and grooming the infield weekly. Last year, the netting and poles installed around the field protected the district's solar panels, meaning not one panel was broken from the adjacent field play.

Finally, the GLC's parking lot design is in the preliminary stage, Zambrano reported. The design so far puts the lot behind the school, and includes 78 parking spaces. However, the district had September meetings with environmental agencies and the state Department of Environmental Protection to see how to proceed.

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