Cranbury School’s new auxiliary gym is complete, more construction projects underway

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The Cranbury School has a new auxiliary gym.

The new building is part of a series of projects that have been planned for construction to improve Cranbury School facilities.

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The school district administration and Board of Education (BOE) announced that the gym had been completed in January and had already been opened to students.

“Our school day and after-school activities have a lot of moving parts, and having a space like this that can be utilized in a hundred different ways gives us the ability to be flexible and creative in ways that mean something to kids,’” said Jennifer Diszler, principal and chief school administrator at The Cranbury School.

The gym’s opening came in time for the start of basketball practice on Jan. 18. Students have already been using the new gym space for sports practices and activities, school officals said.

“It’s a solid investment in our school facility that will be well used and well appreciated by the entire student body,” Diszler said.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at a to be determined date in February.

Along with sports practices and activities, the new auxiliary gym will also be used for physical education classes, space for indoor recess for inclement weather days and student arrivals.

Prior to the construction of the auxiliary gym, the school used an all-purpose room space for the gym. Currently, the all-purpose room space is planned for renovations for a new Center for Arts Education, which was one of the many referendum projects and renovations approved in the $18.46 million referendum for facility improvements in 2021.

The renovations for the Center for Arts Education are expected to be completed through 2024.

The new auxiliary gym was not part of the projects approved in the referendum. Funding for the auxiliary gym instead came from the school district capital reserve fund.

The new building’s location is adjacent to the school’s existing gymnasium.

According to Diszler, the $2.1 million building project was completed on budget and construction had begun on the project in March 2022 with the ordering of materials.

“The successful completion of this auxiliary gym is all part of the master timeline to set ourselves up for spaces that can be utilized during and after our referendum projects are completed,’” said BOE President Pramod Chivate.

He added that the completion of the new auxiliary gym is a satisfying first step in a broad plan to make significant and meaningful investments that will take the district into the future.

This June begins the renovations and construction to the main office and entrance, the new Center for Arts Education, and new Academic Commons.

Due to supply chain issues, Diszler said the school district has had to “alter” the timeline a bit.

“But we are eager to break ground on the first phase as soon as school gets out,” she said. “It is a very exciting time right now and we are eager to get started on building a stronger future for our students and community.’”

The main office and entrance in the first phase of construction, once complete, will create more space and a secure environment as visitors are being screened by staff in a security vestibule and provides more space for meetings.

The Center for Arts Education replaces 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. Students have had to dress and store clothes in the hallways for performances.

The new Center for Arts Education will also add more seating and performance stage space.

The Academic Commons when completed will include a media center, makerspace areas for students to create, space for independent study, and large-group and small group project areas.

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