Tuckerton Elementary School Holds Open House

Jun 06, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Superintendent Janet Gangemi with kindergartner Rylan Crane and fourth-grader Christian Quigley in the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) room.

On Monday, June 4, the Tuckerton Elementary School threw open its doors to the community to tour the improvements made to the school and grounds, which were paid for through a $3.3 million bond referendum. Tuckerton Elementary Superintendent Janet Gangemi expressed pride in the new off-street circular drive for drop-off and pickup of children by their parents, new security measures at the main entrance, two new elevators for handicapped access, a complete STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) lab and some restructuring of offices.

The new main entrance at the south end of the building is a stairwell that leads directly into the new Main Office for greater security. A lift is also available at the entrance for ADA accessibility.

Gangemi directed the circular tour through the main floor, starting with the library. The library has been reconfigured and renewed with kid-size chairs, beanbags and rug plus a new mural of favorite storybook characters by the art teacher, Mrs. Lucariello. From there, the tour led into the new computer lab, an expanded space that contains 24 Apple Mac computers arranged on circular tables. “This allows for better student collaboration on projects,” said Tech-coordinator Kyle Calderwood. Two smart whiteboards are easily viewed from each computer station in the room.

The computer lab led into the new STEAM lab. “This is our pride and joy,” said Gangemi. “The students love it.”

An engineering project was focused on the natural dome of a turtle, and students were making their own free-standing domes. Younger children had created local sea creatures on the LEGO board from the colorful building blocks, and the sixth-grade class was taking up a Shark Tank-type challenge to make their own inventions using the 3D printer. “It’s a different world from when we went to school,” Gangemi told a visiting couple.

The new teachers room had been halved in size to reconfigure the other rooms. “Truthfully it had become a dumping ground for supplies,” said Gangemi. The lights in all the rooms come on and off by auto-sensor to save on energy costs.

The construction project began in 2017. The school contributed $250,000 from its capital reserve account, and the state is contributing 43.4 percent of the cost in debt service. The figure that taxpayers will be responsible for is $2,099,395, to be paid off in 20 years; the impact to the average property tax in Tuckerton is an increase of $68 a year.

Gangemi and Facilities Director Brian Mathis worked closely with MJJ Construction throughout the process.

— Pat Johnson


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