Board meeting addresses school renovations

Work includes upgrades to both middle and high school.

Deptford board of education Business Administrator Todd Reitzel (left to right), board member Joe McKenna and Superintendent Arthur Dietz got an update on renovation work at township schools during a recent meeting. Joseph Metz/The Sun

The Deptford board of education meeting on Aug. 16 featured a presentation from the company behind renovations at the middle and high schools, work described as “just shy of being substantially complete.”

“We’re in the process of getting final inspections from the Deptford construction office,” said Rob Notely, who was joined by Mike Schafer, both from New Road Construction. “We’ve created punch lists of incomplete and acceptable work items. Our contractor is working to clear off as much of that punch list as he can in the next couple of weeks.

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“The project is shaping up very nicely at this point.”

The work at Deptford Middle School – formerly known as Monongahela Middle School – includes adding 16 classrooms, according to New Road Construction’s website, which will make it viable for sixth grade students. The work was first announced in March of 2021; a $25 million contract was awarded to Ogren Construction.

Other renovations include new HVAC units, more offices for board of education members and upgrades to the middle school windows. Upgrades at the high school involve the addition of an emergency generator – something the building has never had – and a unit ventilator for better air conditioning.

“The emergency generator is not going to be here for the beginning of the school year,” Notely explained, adding one will be rented until the permanent generator arrives in late September or early October. There is also the transitional learning academy in the high-school’s media center, which is supposed to serve as a place for special needs students to learn.

“The work on that, I would say, at this point is substantially complete,” said Notely. “It is going exceedingly well.”

“All of our special needs students used to be relegated over to the New Sharon building,” said Superintendent Arthur Dietz. “It was built in the 1800s. It’s an old, dingy building where we used to put all of our special education students.

“It was wrong; it should never have happened,” he acknowledged. “We just built them a brand-new state-of-the-art facility at the high school called the transitional learning academy. So now our special needs students will be able to interact with all the different classes. They’ll be able to do the theater, the cooking class, they’ll be able to participate in everything at the high school.”

Also, in the offing are upgrades in the high school’s auditorium, something the board said needs “drastic renovations.” That work is set to begin on March 13, after the high school has its play.

Board members thanked the community for making the renovations possible. 

“The fact that we got this bond in,” said one of them, James McDevitt III, “and you could see the bang for the buck of what we’re getting for our tax dollars of the community. We want to thank the community immensely for backing this up.”

“Families are gonna see something tangible,” said board member Stacy Gray. “It’s not just behind the scenes things that are getting fixed like the boiler. They’re gonna feel proud of their school.”

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