Massive New Jersey Elementary School Under Construction

By Roxanne Squires

PERTH AMBOY, N.J. — New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) CEO Charles McKenna celebrated alongside city school students and local officials at a ceremonial beam signing for the new Seaman Avenue Elementary School on May 24.

The three-story, 128,000-square-foot school will accommodate nearly 800 students in grades K-5 and is expected to cost nearly $56.4 million.  The new elementary school design will bring 38 classrooms, six small group instruction rooms, four basic skills/ESL/resource rooms, science demonstration room, speech room, vocal and instrumental music rooms, computer lab, gymnasium, media center, cafeteria, multipurpose room with stage, outdoor play and learning areas.

EPIC Management Inc., of Piscataway, N.J., was granted a $43.6 million contract for the design and construction of the school. EPIC is working with DIGroupArchitecture, of New Brunswick, N.J., on the design, with GREYHAWK North America LLC, of Mt. Laurel, as the project manager. SDA has invested nearly $93 million in completed projects in Perth Amboy since the start of the school construction program, with its current portfolio of working projects estimated to be approximately $2 billion — including the Capital Project portfolio, emergent projects and Regular Operating District grants.

The school design process also applied a design-build approach, which diverges from the traditional approach in that SDA contracts with one firm for both design and construction of a school facilities project. This method allows for some design and construction portions of the project to proceed simultaneously with advanced or completed phases, an approach that could make way for improvements upon the original project timeline.

The groundbreaking on the project commenced in October on district-owned land, and the school is scheduled to welcome students for the 2019-2020 school year.