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Contact: Peter Peretzman
For Release: May 24, 2001

Commissioner of Education Approves School Construction Plans for Camden, New Brunswick and Pleasantville

Commissioner of Education Dr. Vito A. Gagliardi, Sr. today announced the approval of long-range school construction plans for the Camden, New Brunswick and Pleasantville school districts. The Camden plan calls for an investment of $437 million in state funds to improve the city's schools; the New Brunswick plan calls for an investment of $117 million in state funds; and the Pleasantville plan calls for an investment of $39 million in state funds.

"I am pleased that Commissioner Gagliardi has approved the long-range construction plans for Camden, New Brunswick and Pleasantville," said Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco. "Clearly the substantial financial investment being made by our state will allow the children of these three Abbott districts to attend school in a modern learning environment. The new schools that will be built and the facilities that will be renovated will go a long way toward providing our children with the top-notch learning environment they deserve."

"The new facilities that will be constructed in these three districts, including two large urban districts, will give our children an even greater opportunity to achieve our rigorous academic standards," said Commissioner Gagliardi. "The plans I have approved will ensure that these children will receive the kind of school building to which they are entitled." The Camden plan calls for:

  • Replacement of one new elementary school on an existing site;
  • Replacement of six new elementary schools on new sites;
  • Construction of two new elementary schools on new sites;
  • Alterations or additions to fourteen elementary schools;
  • Alterations or additions to one early childhood development center;
  • Construction of two new middle schools on new sites;
  • Replacement of one new middle school on a new site;
  • Alterations or additions to five middle schools;
  • Construction of one new technical high school;
  • Replacement of the performing arts high school;
  • Additions or alterations to two high schools;
  • Additions or alterations to Brimm Medical Arts High School.

The New Brunswick plan calls for:

  • The replacement of five elementary schools on new or existing sites;
  • Construction of two new early childhood centers;
  • Additions or alterations to three elementary schools;
  • Grade realignment with all K-8 schools becoming PK-5 or K-5 schools;
  • Conversion of New Brunswick High School to a middle school;
  • Construction of one new high school.

The Pleasantville plan calls for:

  • Additions and alterations to two elementary schools;
  • A major addition to one elementary school;
  • An addition to and conversion of one elementary school to an alternative high school;
  • Grade realignment with all elementary schools becoming PK-5 schools;
  • An addition to the middle school.

In the ten months since the Educational Facilities and Construction Financing Act was signed into law, the Department of Education has approved school construction plans totaling more than $7.3 billion for 29 Abbott school districts. In addition to Camden, New Brunswick and Pleasantville, approvals have been granted for: Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Trenton, Keansburg, Bridgeton, Harrison, Burlington City, Hoboken, Perth Amboy, Long Branch, Irvington, Plainfield, Vineland, Phillipsburg, Millville, Neptune, Orange, Pemberton, Garfield, West New York, East Orange, Asbury Park, Passaic, Elizabeth and Union City.

Under the law, the state will finance all eligible school construction costs in the 30 Abbott school districts, including Camden, New Brunswick and Pleasantville. After gaining approval of their long-range facilities plan, school districts will submit individual plans for each school construction project to the Department of Education. The department will forward approved projects to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which will initiate finance and construction activities in collaboration with the district.