OCEANPORT: A building that once housed one of the biggest employers in the borough could soon become a new PreK-8 school district.
The Oceanport Board of Education has decided that the former Commvault building located in the Monmouth Corporate Park between Route 36 and Crescent Place is the best option for a new school building. The site has been empty since Commvault moved to a site at Fort Monmouth in Tinton Falls in 2013.
The scope of work would include demoing between the neighboring St. Barnabas-owned building and the future school site, building new play fields, a new playground, renovating the loading dock and creating 250 parking spaces.
The entire interior of the building would be be demolished to construct the new school layout, the roof would be cut and extended for a new gym, windows would be added for the cafeteria and gym. Unused HVAC and electrical systems would be removed, but existing plumbing would be used while new electrical switchgear would be installed.
Some of the pros of using the Commvault site are that there is ample parking, the sale of current school properties will help offset the cost and it has the quickest construction schedule of the three options. Some of the negatives are that the school would no longer be located in a neighborhood and that more children would need to be bussed to school.
The option also carries a $30 million price tag and would cost the average taxpayer in Oceanport an additional $569.70 a year. The average Sea Bright taxpayer would see an annual increase of $67.93. The Wolf Hill option was priced at $29.8 million and the fort option was estimated at $30.8 million.
Oceanport BOE President Michelle Mcmullen said she feels the option to build at Commvault site was the best option overall.
"The board is very excited to pursue this property and we intend to have a question on the ballot for the Oct. 2 election," Oceanport BOE President Michelle McMullin said.
The board now has until March 29 to file their plans with New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). The NJDOE has until June 27 to get back to the board regarding the project and any possible state aid costs.
The board would then file its plans with the County Board of Elections to have a special referendum on Oct. 2. If a majority of residents vote to approve the referendum, the plan is to have the school open for start of the 2020-21 school year.