Northern Highlands Regional High School Proposed Construction and Referendum
A $7.73 million referendum vote of a total $8.83 million construction project, which would fund primarily upgraded athletic and also academic facilities at Northern Highlands Regional High School (NHRHS), is scheduled for a public vote on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. The project was presented by Superintendent Scot Beckerman and architect Frank Messineo, principal and founder of Solutions Architecture, at the USR Mayor and Council meeting of December 2, 2021.
The proposed construction project would include the following:
- New drainage systems for the baseball and softball fields to prevent flooding which have rendered them unusable at times.
- New synthetic turf field installations for multipurpose uses including football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball on the lower field.
- New 7,600 sq ft multipurpose field house to include a fitness center, team locker rooms, trainers’ room, referees’ room, community conference room, elevator, and public restrooms to be constructed at the former tennis court site.
- Renovations of the media center to include new meeting room and quiet room, new furniture, new bookstacks, new ceilings, flooring, lighting, new student lounge and cafe
- Renovations of the TV production studio including green screen and interview area, new LED lighting rack to replace gel lighting
- Renovations of the art room to remove asbestos flooring, improve ceramics and painting areas, provide new furniture and cabinets, sink(s)
- Upgrades to the planetarium projection equipment and computer systems
- Conversion of the weight room to 2 new classrooms and 2 new offices
The total construction project is forecast to cost $8.83 million. The school has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education for a $1.1 million grant for the project. This leaves $7.73 million to be requested of the voters in the referendum for a 15-year bond issue scheduled for March 8, 2022. The superintendent reported that a current debt service for the science wing referendum paid by local taxpayers will end in 2022, thus causing this referendum to be approximately equal to what is already being paid by taxpayers. Current Upper Saddle River households, on average, now pay $313.88 per month for the current bond issue which would be replaced by the projected new 15-year bond issue at $269.48 per month, reported Mr. Beckerman. Allendale households now pay $256.15 per month and are projected to pay $219.92 for the new bond issue. Thus, the new referendum, if approved, will have no impact on taxpayers’ tax bills, the superintendent said.
Of the total $8,827,053 budget, $3,133,168 or 36% will be budgeted for the new turf fields, with $3,828,054 or 43% to be allocated for the new field house and fitness center, and $1,865,831 or 21% will be apportioned for classroom and media center projects.
Some construction projects could start in the summer of 2023, while other projects that require more design time could start in 2023 or 2024, Beckerman said. For more information, go to https://www.northernhighlands.org, and click on the “referendum” tab on the upper red bar.
Public Hearing on Tropical Storm Ida
Appropriations voted on by the council in September for repairs due to Tropical Storm Ida were repealed because better means of funding have been made available.
Saddle River Garden Club Recognized
The Saddle River Garden Club was recognized for the many decorations that were created and displayed throughout the Borough of Upper Saddle River.
A resident expressed concern about the new approach flight pattern which has brought more loud noise from air traffic over Upper Saddle River. Mayor Minichetti recommended that residents file complaints the Teterboro Airport Noise Office at 201-288-8828, or firstname.lastname@example.org or online at https://aircraftnoise.panynj.gov/teb-airport-noise-office/. Residents may also contact the FAA directly by emailing email@example.com or by calling 718-553-3365.