MILLVILLE — There apparently still is hope for a new local high school.
A recent three-hour meeting between district officials and the state School Development Authority revealed that money for a new high school is still available, Board of Education member Michael Beatty said.
District officials intend to continue discussions with the SDA in the hope that the agency might approve a new high school project in the next few months, Beatty told board members during their meeting Monday. The SDA is responsible for many school-construction projects throughout New Jersey’s 21 counties.
“We want to get to the point where we can get a general design,” Beatty said.
Beatty told fellow board members and district officials to “cross your fingers.”
“I can feel it in my bones,” Beatty said of the high school project. “Of course, five years ago I could feel it in my bones.”
A new high school in Millville was one of 10 school-construction projects that the Christie administration recommended to move forward early last year. The Christie administration said the need for a new school as opposed to renovations was listed as one of the projects that “required further discussion with the district.”
However, a statement released by the SDA in June indicated that a new high school may not be coming.
The SDA statement read that the authority and the state Department of Education were “working with the district to determine the most appropriate way to address the nine (through) 12th grade capacity needs that exist in the district.” The SDA gave no reason for its decision.
The new high school proposal involved a $163 million, 357,000-square-foot facility that would house more than 2,000 students in grades nine through 12. The building would have 100 classrooms, including science laboratories and a cafeteria, auditorium, media center and gymnasium.
District officials considered six possible sites for the new high school. The site deemed by the district to be the best location involved 385 acres near the Silver Run Elementary School at Silver Run Road and Bogden Boulevard.
Currently, freshmen and some sophomores attend classes at Millville Memorial High School on East Broad Street. Parts of that school were built in 1925. Some sophomores, along with juniors and seniors, attend Millville Senior High School on Wade Boulevard. That facility opened in 1964.
District officials say they need a new high school because of overcrowding. The almost 2,200 students in grades 9 through 12 are more than both buildings can handle, they said.
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