Building new middle school on T.C. Walker Road ‘option of choice’

Kim Robins - Posted on Aug 31, 2011 - 04:45 PM

Building a new middle school on T.C. Walker Road and an administration and operations center on the Page Middle School site on Route 17 is the Gloucester County School Board’s unanimous "option of choice" in replacing the tornado-ravaged Page facility.

School division superintendent Ben Kiser will take the board’s recommendation, with its total price tag of $54.1 million, to county supervisors on Tuesday. School board members and supervisors also have a joint meeting set for Sept. 20, which will include capital planning.

The new school, if approved, would open in the fall of 2015 and serve 800 students in grades six through eight along with 500 ninth graders. Gloucester High School would continue to serve grades 10 through 12. The school would be built on the 138-acre site the board owns along T.C. Walker Road.

Design consultant Duane Harver, who worked with the committee that developed Page replacement options for the board to consider, said the site would not be costly to develop. He said a series of 10-foot auger samplings indicated "the soils there are not unusual. There are some wetlands, but we can work around that." Division construction manager Scott Shorland also noted that soil reports call for conventional construction footings at the site.

The new school would include an auditorium for 800 and a larger kitchen and media center core that could potentially serve a high school at the site. The price also includes some improvements/renovations at GHS. The cost for the school project alone is estimated at $39.8 million.

At the Page site on Route 17, the school gymnasium and auditorium would be preserved for community use, while the rest of the damaged building would be demolished. Then the new administration/operations center would be built, freeing current division administration space for county government use. This portion of the plan carries a $14.3 million price tag.