New modern science labs open at Metuchen High School for new school year

Science Supervisor Kathleen Henn, left to right, Metuchen High School Vice Principal Susan Paredes, Superintendent Vincent Caputo, Bruce Peragallo and Justin Manley celebrate new science labs at the high school.PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN MANLEY
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Science Supervisor Kathleen Henn, left to right, Metuchen High School Vice Principal Susan Paredes, Superintendent Vincent Caputo, Bruce Peragallo and Justin Manley celebrate new science labs at the high school.PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN MANLEY

METUCHEN – A desire for well over two decades, the 2019-20 school year brings new state-of-the-art science laboratories and equity across the science curriculum at Metuchen High School (MHS).

“The addition of these modern science labs will improve the experience for teachers and students,” Schools Superintendent Vincent Caputo said. “In particular, the additional space will allow us to offer six periods of science per week for all of our students.”

School officials came together for a ribbon cutting grand opening ceremony of the new science laboratories on Aug. 28. Caputo said there will be additional opportunities for the members of the community to see the spaces.

In 2017, the Metuchen Board of Education had approved the proposal by EI Associates, a Cedar Knolls-based architectural design and engineering firm, for the detailed design and construction and administrative services of the two story addition of two new science laboratories at the high school.

Caputo said the district was able to fund the project through “a combination of budgetary reserve monies and a short term financing plan.”

“The general contractor, [H and S Construction and Mechanical Inc.], has been wonderful,” Caputo said. “Our architects from EI have guided us every step of the way. Our current Board of Education deserves so much credit for making this a reality.”

The project includes two science labs – one a traditional-looking chemistry lab and one that is a more modern-looking STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) lab, both full of technology, Caputo said, adding there are two prep rooms, an office, and a new chemical storage room.

“The Metuchen community values science education, and this project is really a completion of the desired items from the 1998 and 2005 building projects,” he said. “Science lab space at MHS, unfortunately, could not be included in those projects, and the community has constantly reminded me of the importance to Metuchen.”

School Board President Justin Manley said on behalf of the board members who voted and worked to see [the new science laboratories] through, both past and present, “we are all proud to serve a community that values STEM learning and are excited to see what our teachers and students can do with the new space and modern equipment.”

Along with the new science laboratories, the board worked on providing equity across the science curriculum.

“As a result of the addition of the labs and the hiring of the additional science teachers, we can now offer six periods of science (one double period for labs) for all grades, all levels at the high school,” Manley said.

In April, the board approved a $39.7 million operating budget, up 3.25% over the 2018-19 budget, which included the addition of a new science teacher.

Caputo introduced 14 new teachers at a board meeting on Aug. 27, including new science teacher Ryan Clapp.

Clapp earned a marine science bachelor’s degree from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and completed his teacher certification program in biological science through New Jersey City University/Brookdale Community College. He comes to Metuchen High School after serving as a leave replacement teacher in biology for the Middletown Board of Education and five years as a science teacher at Oak Hill Academy in Middletown.