Bond Referendum Brings Mixed Reactions from Local Community

By Brad Banaszynski

As many know, our district will be receiving various types of improvements to our school over the course of the next year. Last December, registered voters of the Caldwell-West Caldwell area voted on a bond referendum that entailed making necessary improvements to our district’s facilities. Many students will be ecstatic to hear that, after all these years of our incessant complaining, our schools will be installing air conditioning throughout the buildings. As an upcoming 2016 graduate, I will use this opportunity now to convey my jealousy of all the future students that will no longer have to endure the sauna that we call the “500 wing” of JCHS in June.

Additionally, air conditioning units will not be the only project that our district will be handling this year. The many athletes of JCHS will be very pleased to know that Bonnel field will be turfed, and the track surrounding it is being redone. However, among our community there has been some controversy, if turfing our field is really worth the $500,000 it is going to cost. Dr. James Heinegg, the Superintendent, addressed these concerns on the district’s website and explained how, “We will need to do extensive renovations on the fields, regardless of whether we cover them with grass or artificial turf. Due to drainage issues, and environmental upgrades that we are required to make, the fields, especially Bonnel field, will require some major work over the next few years, including drainage and irrigation work, and repairing damage done by several years of harsh weather. The grass fields did not hold up well after Hurricane Sandy and last year’s extreme winter. As we have to do these repairs that require this amount of work, the cost of adding turf is minimized.” Basically, the improvements on the field are a necessity, regardless of them being renovated with turf, and by installing the turf now it will be at a lower cost and will prove to be beneficial in the long run. Again, I, and many of my classmates my age, probably wished this could’ve happened sooner so we could have taken advantage of these improvements before we graduate.

Our district will be seeing improvements in safety, also, due to the passing of the bond referendum. According to a report by NJ School Boards in October of last year it was discussed that the number one way to improve security in schools is through interior doors. So, our district will be replacing nearly 900 interior doors throughout the schools in our district to improve the security. Additionally, security cameras will be installed with recording capabilities to every entrance/exit at every school and at Bonnel Field. Overall, the facilities in our district will be safer due to the projects being carried out in the bond referendum.