WOODBRIDGE – Since construction of a new elementary school and an addition and renovations to a middle school began two years ago, milestones of the multi-million dollar project have been celebrated along the way in the Woodbridge School District.
On Jan. 7, Schools Superintendent Robert Zega said while work is still being done, a huge milestone was met when the 500 or so students at Woodbridge Middle School were able to attend their home school for the first time in the 2019-20 school year.
“They were being bussed to Woodbridge [High School], Colonia [High School], and Avenel [Middle School],” he said from the start of the school year on Sept. 4.
In March 2017, voters overwhelmingly approved a $57.7 million bond referendum, which included the construction of a new $30 million Ross Street School and some $20 million in renovations and improvements to Woodbridge Middle School.
The two projects, which officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for in June 2018, include innovative learning environments and adaptations to help educators boost student collaboration and ideas.
Renovations to Woodbridge Middle School, the oldest school building in the district, which was built in 1910, are centered upon creating a more advanced learning environment as well as additional improvements to the theater at the school. Improvements to the theater began several years ago, which has transformed the theater into a modern performing arts center which hosts community theater and musical productions.
The middle school renovation project will incorporate a design scheme that uses the existing structures and will include the construction of a new gymnasium and locker rooms, large music and vocal classrooms, six new science rooms, a creative commons area, a state-of-the-art production studio and renovated classrooms.
The Ross Street School was the second oldest school in the district built in 1920.
The new three-story, 87,000-square-foot Ross Street school will be centered around a large atrium courtyard that will provide natural light and a connection to nature. The courtyard will house a small amphitheater for outdoor lessons, several “living learning” gardens and seating areas for reading and eating.
The school will promote break-out spaces and flexible learning environments for a variety of learning styles, while equipped with state-of-the-art photovoltaics combined with daylighting strategies to reduce overall energy consumption.
Construction of the school is anticipated to be finished for the start of the 2020 school year.