Local Charter School Construction Still Weeks Away
Students expected to use new facility by the end of the year.
Renovations to an existing warehouse to be used by the Hatikvah International Academy Charter School are expected to begin in a few weeks, according to the school’s spokesman.
According to Dan Gerstein, construction on the 557,379-square-foot warehouse will begin in a few weeks, with work being done over several months. In July, Gerstein told Patch that construction could take between 6 and 8 weeks.
He also said that it is likely students will be in the new building before the end of the year, “though (it’s) hard to say when at this point.”
Two students from South Brunswick have been projected by the state to attend Hatikvah.
In July, the Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a variance that will allow Hatikvah it to renovate the warehouse into a school. The building, 7 Lexington Ave., is located in a planned industrial zone and a variance is needed to open a school in the zone.
For now, the school is located on Cranbury Road and serves K-4.
Phase 1 of the renovations includes building four new classrooms and renovating existing office space into an additional five classrooms—9 classrooms— to accommodate 190 students. It also includes plans to renovate the existing offices into space for administrators, a gymnasium and recreation area, a common area/cafe and a drop-off loop that will accommodate six buses with room for future expansion. There also are plans for a basketball court, playground, and a student drop off lot for parents.
The classrooms will be located along the walls of the warehouse so that windows can be put into each room.
Phase 2 of the plan calls for building the remainder of the classrooms at a rate of two per year (the school expects to add one new grade level every year) for a total student body of about 400 students. Phase 2 will see the addition of classrooms along the building’s Litchfield Road side, and the construction of girls and boys locker rooms, and music, art and science classrooms.
Hatikvah’s plan includes renovating parts of the parking lot, a new sidewalkx, relocation of a parking lot, striping the stalls in the rear of the site, curbing, grading, drainage, landscape and lighting improvements.
Zoning board members insisted that Hatikvah return to the board by January 2015 to begin phase 2 and so that the board can reassess the building site.
Reassessing the site will come into play because of the difficulty in projecting student enrollment growth. Since it is a publicly funded charter School, Hatikvah’s enrollment will grow only according to the number of people who register, unlike East Brunswick public schools where student population grown is easier to determine.
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