School Board Cheers for New Bleachers
Caldwell-West Caldwell BOE taking steps to replace seating which is original to the high school.
New bleachers for James Caldwell High School’s gymnasium are the next major capital improvement project for Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools.
On Monday night, the district’s Board of Education gave the green light to FKA Architects to submit a project application to the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of School Facilities for the replacement of the current bleachers.
"I'm really excited," said Board Member Mary Davidson. "I think anyone who's been there will appreciate this."
The current wooden bleachers are original to the West Caldwell school and are more than 50 years old, according to Business Administrator and Board Secretary Ronald Skopak.
Skopak said the project is slated for the fall of 2012 and is expected to cost between $250,000 and $300,000. He said the new bleachers would be plastic-coated as well as motorized. They would also be ADA-compliant and include safety features, such as aisles and railings.
The bleachers would extend from one end of the gym to the other with no breaks, increasing seating capacity to somewhere around 900 to 950 people.
Skopak said plastic bleachers “will stand the test of time.”
Oakland-based FKA Architects designed the high school’s Center for Performing Arts, which was unveiled last fall. This year, the high school and middle school kitchens got makeovers, and the middle school will have its windows replaced in the spring.
If the state makes Regular Operating District (ROD) grants available, the district plans to apply for the funding to help offset the cost of the bleacher project. The grants generally fund at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects that address health and safety issues, student overcrowding and other critical needs.