Summer projects nearly complete ahead of school’s first day

Superintendent takes a tour of district to see ongoing work

MATTHEW SHINKLE/The Sun
Work related to the previously passed bond referendum at Shawnee High School – as well as at the other three schools in the Lenape Regional district – are expected to be complete by the first day of school.

The Lenape Regional board of education had its first official board meeting of the 2022-’23 school year during the final week of August and approved final business orders in anticipation of the first day of school early next month.

During the session, Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said she would soon visit the district’s four buildings – Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca and Shawnee high schools  – before the start of the new school year to observe ongoing work related to both regular maintenance and the previously approved bond referendum. 

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“Summer is a busy time for us,’’ she said. “We have been providing a lot of great professional development for our administration and our staff, and we’ve also had some building construction. Both regular building cleanup and bond referendum construction has been ongoing.

“We have 31 classrooms that we renovated at Lenape High School and they look extremely impressive,” Birnbohm added. “Those teachers are going to be thrilled to come back to those new spaces. It was long overdue.”

The approved bond referendum involves projects and upgrades at the four schools that could take until the 2024-’25 school year to complete. But a good deal of work was scheduled and completed this summer.

“We set an aggressive summer schedule,” said the district’s Director of Buildings and Grounds, Anthony Voiro, in a written statement to The Sun after the meeting.  “The coordination of contractors, as well as the hard work of our in-house buildings and grounds staff, has allowed us to maintain this schedule and meet the deadline set forth at the start of the summer. 

“This speaks volumes about our ability to continue moving forward with the pending projects and meeting future completion deadlines,” he added. “All these efforts will make our educational environment so much better for years to come.”

 According to both Voiro and the district website, new turf fields at both Lenape and Seneca should be ready by the schools’ first home games. Upgrades for Senecas auto shop and renovations at the Shawnee and Cherokee media centers will be complete by the first day of school. 

Future information and updates on the work can be found under the community tab on the district website. 

Also discussed during the meeting was the approval of 68 local businesses as  job sites through Special Services, a district program for the past 15 years.  About 40 students participated last year, enabling those with disabilities to gain meaningful work experience.

“The job sites are for our students with disabilities who require a more hands-on, authentic approach to learn skills they will need for their futures after high school,” said Director of Special Services Patricia Piserchia. 

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