Board of education receives capital projects update

Superintendent to give district staff a rest following high-school graduation.

At its most recent open public meeting, Haddonfield’s board of education received an update on the district’s pending capital improvement requirements and needs. 

During the May 27 virtual session, Business Administrator and Board Secretary Michael Catalano informed the board and viewing public that Haddonfield schools over the next three to five years are due for significant quality-of-life upgrades to ensure the viability of district buildings and address various safety and ventilation issues.

“If there are categories or themes you see with these bigger items, there are roofs, windows and our HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning),” said Catalano. “These are strictly building improvements under our regular building operations, things we need to let our buildings live.”

Under the three year needs, the district wants a partial roof replacement and window replacements at the combined Central Elementary and Haddonfield Middle School edifice; the installation of district wide unit ventilators; the addition of an elevator to the C wing of Haddonfield Memorial High School; and a complete lighting/energy upgrade at Tatem Elementary.

The longer-range, five year goals include a partial roof replacement at the high school’s B wing, window replacement at the high school’s A and C wings, asphalt and drainage reconstruction at Haddon Elementary, a new fire-protection system for each school building and district wide unit ventilators.

According to Catalano’s presentation at the meeting, roof remediation would cost the most over the next five years, approximately $4.43 million. Addressing various HVAC needs would bring a price tag of an estimated $3.6 million in varied amounts through 2026. 

A full breakdown of the projects and projected associated costs can be found on the board’s website: https://haddonfieldschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CapitalImprovemnt_May2021.pdf.

In recognition of the district’s long haul in dealing with all COVID contingencies in the last academic year, Superintendent Chuck Klaus announced his plans to close district offices during the week beginning June 28, to give all staff some well-earned time away. The move will come three days after Haddonfield Memorial High School holds its outdoor graduation ceremony.

“This summer won’t be the same type of work; it won’t be the same heavy load,” Klaus explained. “It’s going to be a very challenging July and August. And our 12-month staff have been on a grind for 15, 17 months now. A lot of people gave up vacations last year to get ready, and I think for the wellness of the group, a shutdown is worthwhile.”

“Gino (Assistant Superintendent Priolo) phrased it well. We’ve been open more than any other school around us, but it comes at a cost: We’re tired, we’re fatigued.”

Klaus added he was scheduled to have had discussions during the week following Memorial Day to iron out emergency contacts, or for contingencies like last minute academic records for incoming college freshmen. Official notification was to reach district families thereafter.

In other news

  • The board approved a new one-year contract for Priolo, beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2022, for $177,160.
  • The nine-member body also gave its consent to a new contract with AlphaBest Education for before-and-after-school child care for the 2021-’22 academic year.
  • Board President Adam Sangillo announced that Kimberly Dewrell would become principal of Tatem Elementary School, effective July 1. Current school leader Valerie Cline is expected to retire on July 30.
  • Three students from district elementary schools were commended for their performances in a virtual concert as part of the South Jersey Choral Directors Association (SJCDA) Festival Chorus Participation: Lucy Green from Haddon, Ela Alkanat from Tatem and Emma Hollingworth from Central.