The sounds of hammers and drills filled the air in the Lawrence Township Public Schools over the summer, when workers carried out projects approved by voters in a $25.1 million bond referendum.
Voters from Lawrence Township approved the bond referendum in January 2018 to pay for improvements in each of the seven schools. The State of New Jersey is picking up 40 percent of the tab for the new debt.
The bond referendum earmarks $20.6 million to pay for installing air conditioning in classrooms and other areas where it is lacking in the school buildings. Air conditioning has been added piecemeal over the years to some classrooms, gyms, cafeterias and auditoriums.
The bond referendum also includes money for restroom modifications and to install an elevator at the Lawrence Middle School. The elevator will increase accessibility to all floors at the middle school.
There is money to replace the boilers at the Lawrence Middle School and Lawrence High School. Two of the three boilers have been replaced at the high school, and the third boiler will be in place in time for the heating season.
Improvements also are planned for the modular classroom buildings outside the four elementary schools, and security vestibules will be installed at the main entrances to the school buildings that are lacking them.
Ticking off the list of projects, Business Administrator Thomas Eldridge said piping for the conversion of the heating system at the Lawrence Middle School from steam to hot water has been installed. Work is under way to install the elevator.
New ramps and decks have been installed on the modular classroom buildings at the Lawrenceville, Ben Franklin, Eldridge Park and Slackwood elementary schools, Eldridge said.
New windows will be installed on the modular classroom buildings soon, but the school board has not yet awarded a contract to replace the siding on those buildings, he said.
Security vestibules, which control visitors’ access to a building, have been installed at the Slackwood and Eldridge Park elementary schools, and at the Lawrence Intermediate School, Eldridge said.
Security vestibules were already in place at the Lawrenceville and Ben Franklin elementary schools, and at Lawrence High School, he said.
“We are right where we want to be,” Eldridge said, adding that the projects are on schedule and under budget.