Marking a milestone in the implementation of key reforms in the state's school construction program, Governor Chris Christie today joined New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) CEO Marc Larkins for the groundbreaking of the new George L. Catrambone Elementary School in Long Branch. Governor Christie also announced another $500 million in new school construction projects which will be launched across the state leveraging the new principles of efficiency and accountability instituted by the Christie Administration SDA.
"During the past two years, sweeping reforms were instituted at the SDA to ensure that the wasteful spending, cost overruns and empty promises that existed under previous administrations would not be repeated," said Governor Christie. "With today's groundbreaking, this Administration is demonstrating its firm commitment to move forward with the construction of efficient and cost-effective school facilities that provide our students with modern and efficient learning environments."
Governor Christie added, "Over the next six months, New Jersey's construction industry will benefit from an investment of more than $500 million dollars in school facilities projects that will either start construction, or be advertised for construction throughout the state, boosting the Garden State economy and creating jobs."
SDA is committed to an objective prioritization of statewide educational needs and the advancement of sound design and construction principles to bring increased accountability and eliminate wasteful spending. The new approach is the result of a comprehensive SDA review and reflects a wholesale shift from the SDA's 2008 Capital Plan. The George L. Catrambone Elementary School in Long Branch is the first of the 2011 Capital Portfolio to enter the construction phase, with site work already completed. The SDA has advanced construction activities on seven of the other nine projects in the 2011 portfolio.
"This is a great day for the Long Branch Community and further demonstrates the advancement of school construction projects throughout the state in a manner that will provide the students with the facilities they need, while maintaining accountability for the most prudent use of state resources," said SDA CEO Marc Larkins. "We are excited with the volume of work about to commence and look forward to playing a key role in stimulating the economy while serving New Jersey's children."
The new George L. Catrambone Elementary School will be a 109,000 square-foot, two-story facility designed to educate approximately 800 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades. The building will be constructed on the site of the former Elberon Elementary School which was demolished in 2009. The facility will include 41 classrooms, four special education classrooms, a cafetorium, stage, computer room, gymnasium, media center/library, art room and a music room. The facility is anticipated for completion for the September 2014 school year.
Terminal Construction Corp. of Wood Ridge, New Jersey was awarded a $27.5 million contract for the construction of the new school. The architect is Becica Associates, LLC of Cherry Hill and Greyhawk North America LLC of Moorestown is the construction manager. The total estimated project costs are $40.1 million.
The SDA's current portfolio of active projects is valued at over $2 billion - including the 2011 and 2012 Capital Project portfolios (more than $1 billion), additional projects in construction ($86 million), emergent projects ($43 million) and Regular Operating District grants ($743 million state share).