As many people in the community already know, in October of 2017, the Blind Brook school district passed a 44 million dollar bond. The money in the bond was going to be used to change many parts of the Ridge Street Elementary School, as well as an addition to Blind Brook High School. The largest part of the construction is a new building to replace the Butler Building at Ridge Street Elementary School.
The Butler Building that is being replaced was due to be knocked down, considering it was built in 1960. Typically, metal buildings have an average lifespan of 20-30 years. The Butler Building at the Elementary School was over 50 years old before being torn down. Simply renovating the building was not seen as a real consideration because the district wanted to expand upon what was already in the building. The new building will replace outdated smaller classrooms with new and flexible learning spaces to meet the current needs of the twenty-first century.
Once the construction at the Elementary School is complete, there will be tons of new useful features. The plans include adding a two story building with ten classrooms, a cafetorium (combined cafeteria and auditorium), a new kitchen, and even a new courtyard. The new cafetorium will be where students eat lunch, but there will be retractable seating for up to 350 people for events and assemblies. This new addition will allow the school and community to offer many programming opportunities. Another aspect of the construction includes redesigning the bus circle and parking lot. The new parking lot will have a school bus loop for the arrival and dismissal of students, which will separate the school buses from individual vehicles.
Phase one of construction was planned to start in the summer of 2019, and would include starting the replacement of the Butler Building and renovation in other parts of the Elementary School. Phase two of the construction was planned to start a year later in the summer of 2020, which includes other renovations and infrastructure. Originally, all work was supposed to be completed by August 2020, but similar to many other construction projects, delays are very common. Last summer, the date of completion was moved to January 2021. Although it is now past January 2021, the timeline for completion of the Elementary School is still very uncertain. In order to get back on track, the construction management team must form a new schedule to stay on pace.
Although the Elementary School construction has had many delays with no predictable completion date, the construction at Blind Brook Middle/High School is nearly complete. Part of the bond that the district passed three years ago included the addition of a Fabrication Lab, or “Fab Lab”, for middle and high school students to use. The Fab Lab will allow Blind Brook to expand upon their STEAM curriculum, but also their humanities work as well. Students will be able to create new ideas and explore different features of the new Fab Lab. One new course that will be held in one of the Fab Lab classrooms is Entrepreneurship. In this course, students will use their creativity and create solutions by designing new ideas like true entrepreneurs. The Fab Lab is an innovative new facility, and once it is done, students will definitely enjoy what it has to offer.
Despite the delays, the construction in the Blind Brook School district will vastly improve the district’s facilities in many areas. The elementary school will have a whole new building with brand new classrooms and courtyard areas. The high school will have a new place for students to use creativity and solve real life problems. Once these buildings are finally finished, life at Blind Brook will be affected greatly.