Keyport school construction project expected to heat up during summer


KEYPORT – A $16.7 million bond referendum that will fund improvements to Keyport High School and Keyport Central School will begin to make headway this summer.

“It was great to see voters were committed to improvements,” Keyport School District Superintendent of Schools Lisa M. Savoia said during an interview on Feb. 14. 

On Nov. 6, the referendum was approved in a vote of 1,364 “yes” votes to 955 “no” votes. Keyport has about 4,500 registered voters.

The Keyport Central School, which educates students in preschool through eighth grade, and Keyport High School, which educates students in grades nine through 12, will see repairs and upgrades completed.

The work will take place during the summer in 2019 and 2020, Savoia said. 

According to the school district’s website, the enhancements and repairs will create a safer environment for students.

“The school buildings are filled with character, but (the buildings) need to be addressed,” Savoia said. “(That statement) is politically correct in saying we have a lot of work that needs to be done. (After the work is complete), the schools will be a safer environment for students.”

During the summer of 2019, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will be upgraded in both schools. Fire alarms will be updated, vinyl asbestos tile will be replaced, and improvements will be made in drainage systems, the superintendent said.

At the high school, a secure entrance vestibule will be created and a ramp that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act will be installed.

The referendum included repairs to walls at Keyport Central School and Keyport High School to reduce future structural problems and limit the potential for water infiltration; the replacement of classroom door hardware with intruder function lock sets at both schools for additional security; and the replacement of concealed spline ceilings with suspended acoustical ceiling systems for a safer, more structurally sound ceiling system.

Also, the replacement of window sills to allow for a safer environment; upgrades to a full hot water system to provide for increased reliability, better space temperature control and eliminate leaking.

There will be upgrades to replace outdated electrical panels to bring the systems up to code; and the installation of light-emitting diode lights in both schools.

The owner of a home assessed at the borough average of $255,351 is expected to pay about $160 more annually in school taxes for 20 years with the passage of the referendum, according to district administrators.

The exact increase in school taxes a property owner will pay will depend on the assessed value of his home and/or property.

Business Administrator Anthony Rapolla said state aid is anticipated to cover 40 percent (approximately $6.5 million) of the referendum’s eligible costs of $16.2 million.