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New plans for Phillipsburg Area High School are bigger, better, community-based

By Olivia Albright, Assignment Editor / Web Producer, OAlbright@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 20 2013 06:42:04 PM CDT
PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. -

A contract to build a new Phillipsburg High School will be awarded by the end of April, according to George Chando, the Phillipsburg Area School District superintendent. Chando presented the building plans for the new high school at the Phillipsburg Mayor's Luncheon on Wednesday.

After the contract is awarded, building is expected to begin in late August or early September of this year. It is projected the cement work will be completed before winter and that steel will go up in the spring 2014. The entire project is expected to take 30 months. Students will be welcomed into the new facilities in September 2016.

The new high school will cover 330 square feet. It will include a performing arts center, a bigger library and a field house.

Chando noted that the label “auditorium” would not suffice and that, instead, the new facility will be called a performing arts center. It will seat 1,000 and may be used as a regional performing center where various acts can be brought in, according to Chando.

The new library will be a technology-based center with writing labs and two large rooms for digital and distance learning. The rooms will open up as a balcony area in the performing arts center.

The new field house will seat 2,400 people, 1,000 more than the current gymnasium, and will be able to host a variety of sports.

The three-wing academic building will be able to hold 2,300 students, requiring increased parking, especially when events like parent conferences go on. The Phillipsburg School District plans to pay for an additional 200 parking spots above the 250 spots in the building plan.

The construction costs of the project will be $87 million; $10 to $20 million more will be needed to equip the building. The total budget is $145 million.

A transition plan is already under way to decide how to best utilize the facilities the Phillipsburg High School already has. An architect is helping in the decision-making process. When plans have been made, Chando hopes they will hold public hearings to get the community involved. This is part of his greater hope that these facilities will be open to the greater community.

“This will be a community school,” Chando said as he closed his presentation to the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce's Phillipsburg Mayor's Luncheon.