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School projects will come with cost for local taxpayers

The cost to taxpayers of an upcoming Upper Freehold Regional School District referendum have been detailed by administrators in the K-12 district.

On Sept. 26, voters in Allentown and Upper Freehold Township will be asked to approve eight projects at the district’s buildings. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The total cost of the combined projects will not exceed $9,959,815, according to information provided by the school district.

Patricia Hogan, president of the Board of Education, appeared before the Allentown Borough Council on July 18 to provide information about the proposal that will be placed before voters.

“A lot of thought has gone into this referendum,” Hogan told Mayor Greg Westfall and members of the council. “We have a long-range plan.”

According to a handout, if the referendum is approved, the owner of a home that is assessed at the Allentown average of $289,483 will pay an additional $102.91 per year in school taxes for 20 years.

The owner of a home that is assessed at the Upper Freehold Township average of $464,500 will pay an additional $157.47 per year in school taxes for 20 years, according to the handout.

Hogan said public meetings will be scheduled prior to Sept. 26 so residents can learn about the need for the proposed improvements and the costs associated with the work.

Administrators in the school district have said they expect the state to pay about 34 percent of the costs associated with the project, which will include the following work:

• Newell Elementary School, roof replacement, $2,082,600

• Allentown High School, roof replacement, $3,231,800

• Global Learning Center and Vo/Ag building, roof project, $540,800

• Control joint replacement for all roofing projects: $10,400

• Newell Elementary School, solar project, $806,000. The project will install roof mounted solar panels.

• Allentown High School, solar project, $1,289,600. The project will install roof mounted solar panels.

• Global Learning Center, solar project, $145,080. The project will install roof mounted solar panels.

Administrators said the solar panels will reduce electric costs, extend roof life and enhance curriculum, among other benefits.

• Allentown High School, auditorium renovations to include a new stage floor and new lighting and sound systems, $1,650,410

Administrators said the stage floor needs repairs; the theatrical lighting and controls malfunction and because of that specialty lighting has to be rented; and the sound system is original to the 1964 building. As part of the work, original finishes and house lighting will be replaced for an improved audience experience and better acoustics.

• Newell Elementary School, installation of a new emergency generator, $203,125

Administrators said the generator will provide emergency lighting in corridors and restrooms during extended outages; provide lighting in stairwells; and provide power to the elevator.

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