Board of Education Accepts LBI School Inspection Proposal

May 09, 2018

Seven months after voters in three Island communities rejected an $18.4 million referendum focused on upgrading and expanding the Ethel A. Jacobsen school, the Long Beach Island Board of Education last month agreed to a $25,000 proposal by Owen, Little and Associates of Beachwood, to inspect the district’s schools and update the April 2015 evaluation report of the LBI Grade School.

Owen, Little and Associates had been retained by the board in March to begin putting together a proposal to update the April 2015 evaluation report. Frank Little, president of the firm, coordinated the 2015 structural review of both the LBI Grade School and the EJ School, performed by Harrison-Hamnett, PC of Pennington.

The LBI School, built with a structural steel roof framing that consists of open web steel joists, steel beams supporting the metal roof deck and steel columns, underwent a shoring-up project in 2015. The $287,000 project was based on plans prepared by Harrison-Hamnett PC and recommended in a report compiled by Little, the engineer for all the Island municipalities, following a study of the two schools. That report estimated these temporary repairs at $75,000. Shore Connection, though, as the board pointed out at the time, was the only bidder through two bid periods.

“I heard you had issues with bidders,” Little said, noting the district’s current architect, DiCara Rubino, handled the bid package for the project. “It was after (Superstorm) Sandy.”

One of the issues that needs to be resolved is water under the LBI School, which is located between 19th and 20th streets in Ship Bottom. Little has said he would recommend bringing sump pumps in to remove the water.

“The water table has not gone down,” Little has said, noting it is one of the problems with the beams. On the south side of the school, the 20th Street wing, some of the work underneath the building was repaired, he said. The work was done in the early 2000s, but someone made a decision not to fix all of the issues at that time, he said.

Whatever the findings are, according to Little, the board is in control of the next steps it takes. The options, he said, are to bid the work and have it done all at once, or do it over time. In terms of financing any work, he told the board, the state has a larger pot of money to aid rehab projects rather than new construction.

In an unrelated vote, the school board April 17 also approved a $16,964.46 contract with Kowalski Roofing of Brick for repairs to the LBI Grade School gymnasium. Kowalski Roofing, according to its website, specializes in commercial and industrial roofing, offering a variety of options for clients.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is June 19 at 7 p.m., at the LBI Grade School.

— Gina G. Scala

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