The Princeton Regional School (PRS) District Board of Education is seeking suggestions from the community as well as proposals from experienced design and financial services firms with respect to the future of its Valley Road property. "Now that we are almost through with school renovation it is time to turn our attention to the Valley Road building," said Chair Michael Mostoller, at a facilities committee meeting on Friday, April 21.
The District intends to maintain ownership of the property. The Board is seeking proposals for an analysis of current and potential uses by Wednesday, May 17.
"The Board has a history of seeking community input, which it welcomes," said facilities committee member Charlotte Bialek. "We want to keep the Witherspoon/Valley Road corner viable in the community." The building currently houses the offices of the Superintendent of Schools, as well as offices for Curriculum and Instruction, Human Resources, Student Services, Business, Facilities, and Transportation. In addition to Board meeting and reception rooms, the building accommodates a printing room, a maintenance workshop, bus and facilities vehicles and equipment parking, bus driver accommodations, garage, mailroom, warehouse and other storage, as well as educational programs.
According to a "Request for Proposals for Architectural Planning and Development Services" document available from the superintendent's office, the building, in its current state, "is not used optimally by the District or community." The document gives details for proposal submission and states that "in the financial environment in which New Jersey public schools find themselves, the District must continue to take responsibility for using its resources as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible."
The Board is looking for plans that would provide revenue for Princeton Schools to help offset the tax impact of growing but restricted school budgets. At the same time, however, any revenue-generating ideas should recognize the need to minimize the District's -involvement in the management of outside use of its surplus spaces.
In addition to an analysis of the building's future that addresses the needs of the District's administration (on or off site), the Board wants proposals to take into account community interests. Proposals should consider the property's potential use for sports, shops, or other needs in relation to the District's demographics, as well as its current uses.
Proposals must also address the building's deteriorating physical condition, including testing for environmental toxins such as dust, mold, asbestos, among others. They also should be developed in at least three scenarios with financial plans that attempt to maximize revenue and optimize use in the interest of improvement of the condition of the facility at minimum cost to the District and taxpayers.
"Now that the whole of the Witherspoon corridor has come under scrutiny, it's time for a serious analysis of the future of 25 Valley Road," said Ms. Bialek. "Before going further the board wants to hear from the community and from private developers."
Copies of the Request for Proposal document can be obtained from Stephanie Kennedy, Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Princeton Regional Schools, 25 Valley Road. For more information about the requirements of proposal submission, call (609) 806-4201.
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