River Vale schools get upgrades after $35 million referendum vote

RIVER VALE — The school district is planning renovations at three of its schools as part of more than $35 million in upgrades voters approved last April.

The school board has awarded contracts for the renovation of the two elementary schools and the middle school, with an estimated timeline for completion in the summer of 2024.

“We look forward to moving forward with improvements that will make the school an even better place for River Vale students,” said Principal Melissa Signore.

Earlier this month, APS Contracting in Paterson was awarded a $5.8 million contract to build Holdrum Middle School.

A rendering of an updated classroom at Roberge Elementary School

H&S Construction & Mechanical of Elizabeth was awarded two more contracts on January 25 for renovation work at Roberge Elementary School and new rooftop air conditioning systems at Woodside Elementary School. The contract is worth $5.6 million for Roberge and $1.2 million for Woodside.

Construction includes reroofing at Woodside and Holdrum and partial reroofing at Roberge; new fans in classrooms and replacement of rooftop HVAC units in Roberge; and HVAC upgrades and classroom improvements in Holdrum and Woodside, according to a statement from the River Vale Board of Education.

“The renovations will brighten up our classrooms and provide more spaces for learning and collaborating,” said Signore.

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Signore said the work will be completed during the summer months when students are not in the buildings.

The construction of the Roberge Elementary also includes heating, cooling and air filtration; new lighting and floors; Renovation of eight bathrooms; and an accessibility upgrade for the nurse’s bathroom.

River Vale has borrowed $33 million through bond sales, and the remainder of the renovations will be funded by government grants and $6.7 million from the district’s capital reserves.

A central goal of the referendum proposal was nationwide air conditioning. Another reason was the establishment of a wellness center at Holdrum Middle School, something the teachers supported after attending focus groups and identifying student anxiety as a factor that should be addressed.

The district’s website says the wellness center is designed to address student anxiety and serve as a safe haven.

While the wellness center is being built, the district is employing practices such as mindfulness and yoga.

Shaylah Brown is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, subscribe or activate your digital account today.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @shaylah_brown

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