Since Cranbury voters approved a $18.46 million school referendum and Middlesex County has officially certified the votes, the Cranbury School District can move forward with proposed projects to improve school facilities.
Proposed projects that would be funded by the referendum include a newly constructed Center for the Arts Education that will accommodate 600 people, upgrades and renovations to two middle school science classrooms, and improvements to the Cranbury School’s cafeteria and kitchen.
The school referendum vote, which took place in 2021 on Dec. 14, resulted in 557 votes approving the referendum and 328 votes that were cast against the measure, according to Middlesex County.
“We are so grateful for the support of the community because we believe these projects will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the future of education in the Cranbury School District. We are honored to be able to embrace this opportunity to enhance our facilities so they match our district’s educational mission and vision,” said Susan Genco, superintendent and chief school administrator.
She added that district students’ educational experiences will be more robust with referendum projects.
“We will be able to offer creative, innovative and flexible learning spaces in keeping with evolving curricula, and we will be able to create a Center for Arts Education that will benefit our students and the Cranbury community as a whole,” Genco said. “We will also be able to make some very necessary and long-awaited investments to our original cafeteria and kitchen areas, which will allow us to be more efficient and sustainable.”
The district will now go out and sell bonds at the marketplace following the approval from voters.
“We anticipate authorizing the sale of bonds in February,” Genco said.
For the proposed projects, a Center for Arts Education would replace the current space used for the combination gym and auditorium. Part of the new center will have spaces and rooms built for storage and dressing rooms, which is currently not available for students at the school, who have dressed and stored clothes in the hallways for performances.
This new Center for Arts Education also tackles the issues for the school in terms of seating and performance stage space, which has been previously described as limited by the administration and school board.
For the two middle school science classrooms receiving upgrades, one classroom will see upgrades to its lab stations and a second classroom that does not contain separate lab stations would have them in the newly renovated classroom.
Cranbury School’s kitchen would be updated with new appliances and more space would be created for operations, and the cafeteria will also receive improvements.
The existing library space that is currently being used for additional classroom and cafeteria space is planned for a redesign to create a makerspace area, a media center, and academic commons for students.
Other areas planned for proposed improvement are the main office, which is currently a multi-purpose use for mail, security and meetings; the creation of a new nurse’s suite will have increased space and allow for a separate space for students’ school health records; and the construction of a greenhouse and outside area for eating adjacent to the cafeteria.
“This referendum is truly an investment in Cranbury’s future and we are eager to share our progress as this vision is realized,” Genco said.
Additionally, the blacktop behind the school is planned to be redone, and a traffic study would be conducted followed by a redesign of the parking lot to address congestion and design.
“We are working on a full timeline of project phases to share with the community. We will be providing updates at our board meetings and will also be building a project timeline and update section on our website to keep the community informed,” Genco said. “We will continue to honor the community’s support of our endeavors by making sure we keep the community informed about all aspects of the projects as we move forward.”