An official celebration

Official ribbon cut opening the auxiliary gym at the school on April 17 in Cranbury.

First auxiliary gym, next up referendum projects and renovations for Cranbury School

Cranbury School officially celebrates its first completed facilities project – the new auxiliary gym.

The ribbon cutting ceremony – with blue ribbon and giant red scissors and all – was held inside the new auxiliary gym on April 17.

“For us this was the start of all of the facilities construction, because with the new referendum we will be removing the auditorium, which is our old gym, and build a new performance center,” said Jennifer Diszler, principal and chief school administrator at The Cranbury School.

Under the $18.5 million referendum projects and renovations, which was approved in 2021, the plans call for the renovation of the auditorium all-purpose space into a Center for Arts Education.

With the auditorium’s planned removal, the school needed to have a physical education space for its students. The primary use of the auxiliary gym will be for physical education classes.

“Mostly, our primary kids are in here, however it will be utilized with the idea of this being a community space for things like our Craft Show. Also, for different leagues that come and play,” Diszler said. “It is smaller court so it might be enticing for those leagues that might not want to run around so much.”

The gym’s construction was completed in January and since then the gym has been used by students and staff.

“We had just been waiting for the plaque to come to do this official ribbon cutting ceremony,” Diszler said.

The space is for students, athletes, school building needs, indoor recess and for use by the Cranbury community.

According to Diszler, the building will also serve as a place to host events and tournaments.

There are additions the school wants to add to the gym such as cameras and speakers as time goes on. The building has been outfitted in a way so that those additions can be added when the school administration and school board are ready.

“The opening of the auxiliary gym just two weeks before the 125th anniversary of The Cranbury School is pretty fun. I think it is a good move for the school to have more specialized space,” Mayor Mike Ferrante said. “I think this auxiliary gym is perfect for what it is designed for, and it is nice to see the school getting what it needs.”

The auxiliary gym, which is located next to the school’s existing gymnasium, needed to be completed in 2023 as the school prepares to close other spaces in the school building for the rest of the planned construction for improving facilities.

“We are very happy to see the new auxiliary gym come online quickly, and we look forward to the next set of projects happening this year and next year,” said BOE President Pramod Chivate. “It is very important for the school to have these facility improvements, because our long-term plan looks at 20 years from now and we are building the school for the future.”

Funding for the auxiliary gym was not part of the approved referendum. The funds come from the school district capital reserve fund.

The cost of construction was about $2.1 million, according to David Weidele, school business administrator.

“For this to happen we used capital reserve funds. Each year based on our surplus we would deposit back into those to help build up a health reserve,” he said. “Everything was under budget with some additions of the original plan.”

The original plans called for just one backboard, but a second backboard was added and added volleyball additions.

The process continues for construction to start this summer regarding referendum projects centered around the main office, academic commons and Center for Arts Education.

“Right now, we are going through the bid process and should have an award to get construction started for the start of the summer,” Weidele said.