PDS Announces Phased Construction Plan For Campus Facilities; No Timeline is Set
Representatives of Princeton Day School appeared before the Princeton Regional Planning Board to introduce a concept plan to renovate, reconstruct, and expand certain facilities.
The plan includes expansion of the library, performing arts area, and administrative wing. New construction will include a new visual arts wing, a two-court gymnasium with a fitness room, and a staff lunchroom.
"We need to work on making this school a place where the quality of the facility matches the quality of the human resources we have there," PDS Head of School Judith R. Fox said before giving details of the planned construction.
No significant structural changes have taken place at the school since its original construction in 1963. Architect Armand Quadrini, who outlined the PDS construction plans, noted that a clock tower was included in the original plans for the school, but was never built. The proposed construction includes a clock tower at the entrance.
Mr. Quadrini also noted that this would be a "phased" construction project and is determined by fundraising success. As such, the school intends to handle each expansion or construction project individually, and with no definitive timeline. Representatives of the school also offered no definitive cost of the completed project.
Most of the improvements will occur to the rear or west of the existing school, with the clock tower planned for the front.
The total building increase will be approximately 65,000 square feet, with the most significant aspect being 30,375 square feet devoted to the new visual arts wing. The library and performing arts area will take up a combined 21,800 square feet.
The Board expressed concern on the issue of traffic circulation. This week, PDS submitted a separate application to the Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB) for road widening of its main entrance along the Great Road. The Planning Board suggested in a recent memorandum that PDS consider installing a traffic light at the main entrance to facilitate traffic flow during school arrival and dismissal. The Board has also asked the school to review vehicular circulation on the main campus. Currently, vehicular access from the lower part of the campus to the upper part is restricted by a one-way traffic flow and requires use of public streets.
Dr. Fox emphasized PDS's commitment to easing traffic in and around the school's campus. This year, PDS received a formal commendation from Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) for its participation in a carpool program. The program is part of a regional effort by GMTMA to alleviate traffic problems for schools and corporations where public transportation is not easily accessible. Dr. Fox noted that many students many students drive to campus or are dropped off by parents, and that the carpooling program has proven successful in consolidating students who commute by car.
Another concern voiced by the Board was the ease of pedestrian traffic on campus after construction is completed. Lee Solow, planning director of Princeton Township, highlighted the school's need to improve pedestrian and bike paths. The Board cited the school's recent construction approval for faculty housing on an adjacent lot to the south of the main campus, and that a pedestrian connection from the lot to the campus should be contemplated.
Dr. Fox said minimal increases in faculty and staff will result from the construction project. She underlined the school's reluctance to add full-time positions.
"Adding faculty and staff is a perpetual concern of ours and is something we work very hard to do sparingly because it has a permanent impact on our annual operating budget." The head of school also noted that because the school trimmed back on its maintenance staff in years past, there is room for at least one additional fulltime worker.