A Start Made For Our New Building
In the public press the Roosevelt Administration announced a new plan, by which the PWA would give an outright grant of 45 per cent for worthy projects, municipalities to contribute 55 per cent. When this word was received, a special meeting of the board was called to consider it in connection with our needs. The plan was discussed by the board members and a group of interested citizens, and resulted in a motion to make application for a $600.000 project.
On June 24, 1935, a special meeting of the voters was held, at which was submitted a proposition to purchase a parcel of land, at a cost. not to exceed $30,000. To float a bond issue for $330,000 and to accept a Federal grant for the sum of $270,000. At this public meeting, 1,055 votes were cast, and the proposition to issue bonds and build a $600,000 High School was carried by more than a four-to-one majority.
However, with two proposed sites for the new building on the ticket, neither received a majority of all the votes cast. The Main Street site received 448 votes and the Central Avenue site 404. It was therefore necessary to call a second election to determine a site. This meeting was called for July 9, 1935, with the, result that the Main Street site was selected by the voters, 499 to 414.
All necessary papers were prepared at once, sent to Newark, Trenton and Washington, and closely followed up by Attorney Walter W. Weber and President Dater. Both spent considerable time on the project, including three days in Washington, by which the whole plan was speeded up. Official word was anxiously awaited but nothing developed until, on Sunday morning, August 19th, the New York Times published a list of approved Federal projects, and the amsey- project was included.
It is superfluous to say that there was great rejoicing, in the borough. Very early in the following week President Dater sent a telegram to Washington asking for official confirmation. A reply was received which stated that President Roosevelt, had approved the grant of $270,000 for our school, and that it now I)ore the official number 1047-NJ.
At a special meeting of the board, held on Sept. 3, the grant was officially accepted by resolution, which was forwarded to the Newark office of the PWA. The firm of Fanning & Shaw was engaged as architects by the board and Engineer James A. Conk engaged to make a survey of the site selected for the new building.
The plans were finally approved by the State Department of Public Instruction and by the PWA office in Newark. At a meeting of the board held on Oct. 29, a motion was passed to advertise for bids, which were to be received on May 25. Opened on this date, the board found that the figures exceeded the estimate and the amount of money available.
It was necessary to revise the plans, cutting down the size of the building to some extent. This accomplished, new bids were asked on Dec. 23. These figures came within the sum allotted and some alternate bids were also received. Contracts were awarded subject to the approval of the PWA.
Approval was given by the PWA and on January 7, 1936, contracts were signed with the following contractors, for the amounts set forth.
General contract to Hugh Montaque &, Son, for. mason and carpenter, work, painting and roofing, $327,646.00.
Structural steel and ornamental iron work to Lehigh Structural Steel Co., for $40,365.00.
Plumbing work to JaJaehnig & People, Inc., $27,067.00.
Electrical work, Badaracco & Co., $25,900.00
Heating and ventilation, Frank A. McBride Co., $45,742.00.
Under the terms of the contract all work was to be completed one year from the signing of approved contracts, which date was made January 17, 1937.
On the afternoon of January 16, 1936, the ground-breaking exercises were held. A parade was formed, with the line of march starting at the high school building on High School Place. The parade was headed by our local police, then followed the town clergy, members of the Board of Education, a goodly delegation of business men. Also a delegation from George Hemion Post, American Legion, Boy and Girl Scouts, and a long line of private cars.
Arriving at the site of the new building, a circle was formed at the spot selected for the exercises. Rev. 0. A. Boyer, of the Church of the Redeemer, offered the invocation, the audience sang "America" and then the silver-plated shovel, provided for the occasion, was put to work. John Y. Dater, President of the Board, turned the first shovel full and then handed the shovel to Mrs. Rudolph Schweizer. Mrs. John M. Van Gelder, H. R. Parvin, Charles Eidel and W. D. Tisdale also helped to dig the first hole for the foundation of the new structure. The school band played several selections and the exercises were brought to a close by Rev. P. H. Asheton-Martin, Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, who pronounced the benediction.
Actual work was to have been started on the following Monday but Old Man Winter said "No", and an exceptionally heavy snowfall blocked roads. The firm of George Brewster & Son, who bad the contract for excavating, found it impossible to get the shovel to the site of the work, delaying the start until March 5th. However, with such a capable contractor as the firm of George Brewster & Son, equipped with the very latest machinery, an immense hole was dug in an incredibly short time, considering all the handicaps of the weather.
As quickly as a portion of the foundation was excavated, forms were placed by the carpenters and the work of pouring the concrete was begun. Work continued all summer, with a regular fleet of trucks conveying material to the job. Soon steel erectors, masons, bricklayers and representatives of other trades swarmed over the job, and by early fall the structure began to take form.
The members of the Board of Education waited patiently for a day to lay the corner stone. Finally, after one postponement, this task was completed op. Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1936. To these exercises board members from each of the seven sending districts were invited, as well as the townspeople and many others.
H. R. Parvin, Chairman of the Special Building Committee, presided and Rev. Harold E. Davis, of the First Presbyterian Church, offered prayer. County Superintendent of Schools Roy W. Zimmer- man was then invited to speak, and he brought a word of praise and satisfaction over the good work the townspeople had made possible. President Dater also made a brief address, Contractor Montague, Architect Shaw, John Barth, PWA representative, and others, were present and spoke.
Before the copper box was placed in its receptacle in the corner stone, copies of the enrollment in the High School, as of Oct. 17, 1936; enrollment of the grades of the Grammar School, with the names and number in charge of each teacher, were placed in it. Also a list of figures showing the growth of the school since 1907 and the number of Graduates each year; copies of the teaching, schedule; copies of the Students' Handbook; a copy of the High School Commencement program; a copy of the Grade School graduation pro,-,ram and several copies of The Ramsey Journal, which told the story of much of the work of the board, incident to the erection of the new building. Quite a collection of 1936 pennies and other coins was placed in the box.
And now a brief description of our new building. It is three stories high, with basement under the auditorium and also under the gym. The entire building is just under 400 feet in length. Separate entrances are provided for both the auditorium, which is on the north end of the building, and the gym, which is on the south end. The class room section is in the center and has three entrances, facing the west; and the cafeteria has two service-entrance doors.
On the third floor of the class room section, there are a bookkeeping room, a typing room, a business practice room and five general class rooms. On the second floor a large room has been furnished with all the latest equipment for a physical and chemical laboratory. There, is also a biology laboratory, a general science room, an art room, a sound proof music room, with a small stagee, flve general class rooms and a rest room for men teachers, also an exceptionally large library.
The first floor contains a domestic science room, equipped with gas ranges, refrigerators, steel closets, etc., ill so divided as to make six complete kitchens. Next comes the sewing room, equipped with electric sewing,, machines and all other necessary equipment; a clinic, women teachers' rest room, three general class rooms and a large cafeteria and study hall. Adjoining this are a kitchen, a serving room, and a dish-washing room. To the right and left of the main entrance are respectively, the Supervising Principal’s room, the Board of Education room and the general offices and Principal's office.
The auditorium is furnished with upholstered leather chairs, and the main floor and balcony will seat 1,021. A very stage has been provided and this is fully equipped with velour curtains cyclorama, back drops, side curtains, border curtains, red, white and blue border lights and foot lights, A picture screen his also been provided on the stage and in the balcony, is a fireproof booth for projectors. All electric lights are controlled by a "dimmer" system.
Beneath the stage is a large scenery storage room and in the basement two dressing rooms. A room for bicycle storage and a receiving room for supplies adjoin the boiler room, in which there are three steam boilers, a vacuum pump, hot water boiler, etc. Also a janitor's room, a meter room and a transformer vault. All ventilating and exhaust fans are also operated from the boiler room.
The large gym is divided by folding doors, electrically operated, to provide for separate instruction for boys’ and girls’ classes. Adjoining the gym are shower rooms for both boys and girls, also locker rooms and rooms for both the men and women instructors, also provided with separate showers, and another shower room for use of visiting teams.
The balcony of the gym, which is arranged on two sides, will seat over 600. The sidewalls of the gym are faced with tile and an acoustically treated ceiling provides receptacles for 28 lights. The room is heated by convectors placed inside the tile sidewalls, and booster radiators have also been provided., as well as a ventilating system.
A large metal working shop, with ramp leading to it from the roadway is found in the basement. Adjoining this is the general woodworking shop and also a finishing room for painting, etc. Special lighting fixtures have been provided in these shops.
Each class room, as well as all of the special rooms are provided with separate temperature control, by means of thermostats and electrically operated radiator valves and cold air ducts. Also in each room is a secondary clock, program bells and intercommunicating telephones. The library is decorated in two shades of ivory, and book stacks are arranged on three sides of the room, and this room is furnished with Windsor chairs and oval tables. Adjoining the library is a large book room.
The grounds, on which the new building is located, consists of just over ten acres, practically all of which will be landscaped. The project sponsored by the Board of Education to acquire another eleven acre tract, to the east of the new building, was endorsed by the voters and is now being drained, graded and cleared of brush by aid of a WPA grant and Board of Education funds. On it will be built a quarter-mile running track, football and baseball fields. By the acquisition of this tract of land, the high school property consists of nearly twenty-two acres.