NJDOE News

Contact: Janet Thompson
Rich Vespucci
For Release: March 19, 2001

$757 million in School Construction Plans Approved:
West New York, East Orange , Asbury Park & Passaic Plans Advance

Acting Education Commissioner Vito A. Gagliardi, Sr. today announced the approval of long-range school construction plans for West New York, East Orange, Asbury Park and Passaic that call for a total of $757 million in new and improved schools.

Under the state’s innovative Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, the three school districts will receive full state funding for their comprehensive school improvement plans.

"We are taking the first, important steps toward transforming the learning environment for the children of Passaic, West New York, Asbury Park and East Orange," said Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco. "The improvements planned for these school districts will enable students to move out of old, crowded schools and into modern, state-of-the art facilities. This latest round of school construction plan approvals is a further demonstration of our commitment to provide every child with a quality education in quality facilities at no additional cost to local property taxpayers."

"With the approvals announced today, we are quickly coming to the close of the first phase of a process that will eventually lead to modern, safe school facilities in some of the state’s neediest school districts," said Gagliardi. "To date, we have approved long-range facilities plans totaling $6.2 billion for 25 Abbott school districts and expect to issue more approvals in the days to come."

The approvals announced today include:

West New York: Estimated Cost: $120 million
Projected Enrollment in Five Years: 7,128 students

  • Replacement of four existing elementary schools with new facilities;
  • Additions and renovations to two K-8 schools;
  • Construction of a new middle school;
  • Renovation and additions to the high school; and
  • Additions to one early childhood center and construction of a second pre-kindergarten facility.

East Orange: Estimated Cost: $255 million
Projected Enrollment in Five Years: 12,993

  • Alterations and additions to an early childhood center and conversion of another facility into a childhood center;
  • Construction of seven new elementary schools on existing sites;
  • Construction of three new elementary schools on new sites;
  • Demolition of the existing East Orange High School and construction of two new elementary schools on the site;
  • Construction of new elementary/middle school on the existing site;
  • Alterations and additions to the middle school;
  • Construction of a new middle/high school on the existing site;
  • Conversion of former Upsala College Campus into a high school for grades 10-12; and
  • Alterations to the existing 9th grade high school.

Asbury Park: Estimated Cost: $96 million
Projected Enrollment in Five Years: 4,205

  • Construction of one new elementary school;
  • Additions to three existing elementary schools;
  • Additions to the middle school and high school; and
  • Construction of a new early childhood center

Passaic: Estimated Cost: $286 million
Projected Enrollment in Five Years: 13,482

  • Construction of four new elementary schools on new sites;
  • Additions to five elementary schools;
  • Renovations to two elementary schools;
  • Construction of one new early childhood center;
  • Conversion of one elementary school into an early childhood center;
  • Closing of three leased elementary schools;
  • Renovation of one middle school;
  • Construction of two new middle schools; and
  • Additions and alterations to the high school.

In the seven 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 $6.2 billion for 25 Abbott school districts including Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Trenton, Keansburg, Bridgeton, Harrison, Burlington City, Hoboken, Perth Amboy, Long Branch, Irvington, Plainfield, Vineland, Phillipsburg, Millville, Neptune, Orange, Pemberton, Garfield and Union City. In addition, the Department has approved $650 million in critical health and safety improvement for Abbott school districts.

Under the law, the state will finance all eligible school construction costs in the 30 Abbott school districts. After gaining approval of their long-range facilities plans, school districts must then submit individual plans for each school construction project to the Department of Education and the Economic Development Authority for approval.