The real opportunity for the Haddonfield School District is to optimize the land it has acquired known as the Hopkins parcel. That parcel, formerly part of Bancroft, will accommodate an Early Childhood Center (ECC) as well as a full-size turf field.
By now most of us are aware of the many drawbacks associated with the Kingsway acquisition/debacle. Kingsway restoration will result in a costly and oversized (18 classrooms) building which will require many non-resident tuition students to help close the budget.
By all accounts, restoration of the 1966 abandoned building has potential for cost growth beyond $13M and the makings of a taxpayer money pit. To add insult to injury, the BOE is proceeding, with what can only be labeled callous indifference, to require the next-door neighbor to open their private driveway to 30 to 40 staff vehicles in order to reach the parking area behind the school, no longer accessible through the Kingsway property.
Kingsway is the Wrong Building in the Wrong Location.
The real opportunity on the table, as described in the District’s Early Childhood Education website (Option 2b.), is to build a 9 to 10 room Early Childhood Center for Haddonfield children which would allow for full day kindergarten (not mandated by the State) and the current pre-school program. This assumes that the BOE’s statement that our elementary schools lack space for building expansion is factual.
The BOE’s estimated project cost is $11 to 13 million. This option also allows space for the construction of a full-size synthetic turf field on the parcel which was a highly desired option in the bond referendum survey taken in mid-2022. (458 responders, mostly parents) The Board of Education has until May 10 , 2023 to withdraw from the Kingsway Sales Agreement for any or no reason, without penalty. Beyond that, justifications (think legal risk) will be needed. Let’s urge them to do so now and avoid future complications.