The North Bergen Junior High School project has been delayed for a second time, until September 2025, citing major ongoing construction projects.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The two projects, one being led by the Township of North Bergen and one by the North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA), are expected to reduce flooding to improve quality of life and enhance the safety of the new campus and surrounding neighborhood.
“The safety and health of our students, faculty and administrators must always come first, and after much deliberation we have concluded that the most responsible choice we can make is to delay the opening of the Junior High School until these critical flood mitigation projects are completed,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter said in a statement.
“Construction of the new school continues to advance, but with major construction happening so close to the campus we feel that it would not be safe to bring students into that environment until the work is substantially completed. We look forward to sharing more updates about the school in the coming year and to the full realization of our School Realignment Plan next September.”
The North Bergen Junior High School West Campus, located at 8511 Tonnelle Ave., will house grades 7 through 9, along with Culinary Arts and Expanded Career Technical Education programs for grades 9 through 12.
This will include the return of vocational programs like carpentry, plumbing, automotive tech and other disciplines that will prepare students for in-demand careers, as well as create smaller classroom sized.
The Township of North Bergen has retained Boswell Engineering to complete a state grant funded flood mitigation and drainage improvement project on Mazzoni Place, which is a small street that runs through the campus.
The project will result in increased sewer capacity and improved stormwater management, with construction expected to be completed in late 2024 pending state approval.
Concurrently, the North Bergen MUA project is expected to begin construction in the coming months at the site of the Junior High School campus’ lower parking lot.
When completed it will allow the Township to be in compliance with the state Department of Environmental Protection mandates calling for the capture of untreated wastewater that the existing combined sanitary system can’t handle during periods of peak flow.
The project has been delayed pending approval from the New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office, which was granted this month after the proposal was originally submitted in July 2022.
A ground breaking was held in March 2022, following delays caused by lawsuits, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the death of the district’s construction manager in April.
The district also cited global supply chain issues making it difficult to procure essential building materials like steel and electrical and plumbing components in a timely fashion, which impacted the original construction timeline.