B&C picked to build new Harrison school

B&C picked to build new Harrison school
Posted on 12/16/2016

A contractor that ended up in arbitration with the Kearny Board of Education on a complex Kearny High School renovation job is being awarded a $25+ million contract to build a new Harrison school.

The official announcement confirming that the Towaco firm of Brockwell & Carrington is the choice of the state Schools Development Authority was expected to be made this past Monday, Dec. 19.

Plans call for a “design/build” of a three-story, 65,500-square foot structure to rise just across the street from Washington Middle School along Harrison Ave., on the site of a former municipal parking lot off S. Fifth and Washington Sts.

That building is to accommodate some 400 children, with two classrooms for pre-K, nine classrooms for kindergarten and nine for first-graders, a cafeteria, a “multi-purpose” space, plus indoor and outdoor play areas.

James Doran, personnel director for the Harrison Board of Education, told The Observer that the local district was apprised of the contract award by the SDA on Nov. 22.

Doran said that B&C was one of seven construction/development groups that applied for the job.

Doran said the contract award to B&C was for $25,889,000 – not including costs anticipated for remediation of the development site, acquisition of nearby residential properties on S. Fifth St. and demolition of those homes. Figuring in those additional expenses, SDA’s total investment in the Harrison project is projected at $34.6 million of which the SDA will reportedly fund 100%.

Doran said that he was familiar with B&C’s Kearny experience but he said he’s “being cautiously optimistic” about the project in Harrison which is expected to be finished by spring 2019.

B&C, in partnership with FVHD, has been awarded another SDA job: construction of a 53,000-square foot elementary school for 275 students in grades K to 5, with 13 classrooms, other educational space and a gym in Garfield for $17 million, due for completion by February 2018.

In Harrison, Doran said the new school was pitched as a way to relieve growing enrollment in the local district, particularly in pre-K to grade 5, resulting in overcrowded classes.

As part of a realignment after the new school is occupied, plans call for Lincoln and Hamilton schools to handle grades 2 to 5, add a cafeteria at both schools, add a computer lab and music room at Lincoln, add an instrumental music room at Hamilton and open additional classroom space as needed, according to Doran.