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Board of Education Discusses Demolition of Old Cliffwood School

The building was built in 1922 but is no longer in use.

The Matawan Aberdeen Board of Education is working toward demolishing the old Cliffwood School, which was built on Cliffwood Avenue in Aberdeen Township in 1922.

In Spring 2012, the board authorized the administration to solicit a report on the building that would outline the approximate cost and scope of demolition. 

"The environmental study found that there are PCBs in light fixtures, there’s asbestos on the roof, the floor, the wall, and the ceilings, and that there is lead-base paint throughout the building," said Business Administrator James Strimple at the board's Oct. 8 meeting. "To raise the building, all of that would have to be remediated before they could implode it."

PCB, or polychlorinated biphenyl, is a manmade chemical that has been linked to cancer and other medical issues, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The 90-year-old structure is approximately 30,000 square feet in size, including an addition that was put on while the building still operated as a school, according to Strimple. After the new elementary school was built, the old school operated as a storage area. The district no longer uses the building for any purpose, Strimple said.

"Overall, the finding is that the building is in fair to poor condition and is not viable for use as a school as it has too few classrooms and it's not handicap accessible," Strimple said. "It would not meet the needs of a modern day educational facility."

The demolition project, including remediation and professional fees, is estimated to cost $850,000. The actual remediation and demolition portion of the project is estimated to take eight weeks. Strimple recommended that the board move forward with the project so that it may be completed during the summer of 2013.

"I believe, although we’ve just begun the budget building process, that either through capital reserve or through surplus funds that we’ll be able to adequately fund the project and still stay within the 1.5% [budget cap] goal," he said.

To move forward on that time line, the board will have to authorize the administration to prepare a bid for the project by November or December, Strimple explained.

No formal action was taken on this matter during the Oct. 8 committee meeting. 

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