Cahill announces potential plans to build new public school in New Brunswick
New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill said the city will soon announce plans to build a new $55 million public school on Jersey Avenue, according to an article on MyCentralJersey.
This school will replace the Lincoln Annex School, which is where Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) plans to build its $750 million expansion of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, according to the article.
Cahill said the new school will include a playground and be located near at least one public park, according to the article.
“The school system invested $21 million to upgrade Lincoln Annex School from the old St. Peter’s School,” Cahill said, according to the article. “They would be getting a state-of-the-art $55 million school in exchange for that with an increase of 30,000 square feet and a lot more parking spaces." More of the students live closer to the proposed site than the Lincoln Annex School.
The New Brunswick Board of Education must first approve the site plan for the new school, according to the article. Then, the plans for RWJUH’s cancer pavilion will immediately be taken to city council for its approval.
The estimated construction timeline for both the new school and the Cancer Pavilion is three years, according to the article. While the school is being built, students of the Lincoln Annex School will attend the Warehouse School.
“This announcement is a testament to the advocacy of the people of this community who have been demanding answers to our questions and ultimately we are going to continue fighting because the current plan, as has been reported in the press, involves the students being displaced to the warehouse for potentially three years,” said Charlie Kratovil, editor of New Brunswick Today and former mayoral candidate.
He also said that the proposed site for the new public school brings up multiple concerns.
“The community remains concerned for a number of reasons, one being the location of the proposed replacement school,” Kratovil said. “It’s in the middle of an industrial area, has concerns about contamination and it is not as convenient for most of the families currently served by the Lincoln Annex School.”
These plans come after Rutgers faculty and members of the community voiced their thoughts on the potential sale of the Lincoln Annex School.
Todd Wolfson, president of the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) and professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said that if there is a plan to build the expansion of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in place of the Lincoln Annex School, there should be a permanent school built with equal amenities in the same area, according to The Daily Targum.
“When students are moved, it tends to have a big impact on them emotionally, it has an impact on their grades,” he said, according to the Targum. “We believe the right thing for these three very wealthy organizations to do is to make sure they are in a very good school before breaking ground and building the new cancer pavilion.”
Lilia Fernandez, an associate professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies in the Department of History, said that building a new school in the same neighborhood is the most important thing, according to the Targum.
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