Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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Charter School Board of Trustees Discuss Ongoing, Future Projects

Ellen Gilbert

Although it was founded 11 years ago, the Princeton Charter School (PCS) is still a work in progress, at least with respect to its physical facilities. At its first meeting of the new school year last week, the PCS Board of Trustees and new Head of School Broderick Boxley heard reports on building improvements made during the summer, along with updates on ongoing and future projects.

Most prominent among future projects is the building of a new campus center that will house a gym, theater, and music and art rooms. The Board anticipates approval of bank financing for the project within weeks, and hopes that building will begin on September 30. It is anticipated that the project will take two years. In the meantime, a long wooden wall erected to separate PCS playing fields from the construction site will be the focus of a school-wide, graffitti-style art initiative.

The installation of cubbies, conversion of a conference room into a teachers’ workroom with computers and a photocopier, and freshly painted doors and walls drew positive feedback from parents and teachers in the school’s fifth to eighth grade building. Although there were some delays in the work, it was noted that it was brought in “within estimated costs,” and in keeping with the school’s tradition of obtaining “great value at efficient rates.”

Board member Fernando Guerrero also praised the team that obtained bids for the new campus center for showing “fiscal responsibility.” The Board approved bids on building and landscaping, and plumbing for the new complex.

The creation of a “welcome center” in the school’s Marsee Center, the administrative building recently renamed for PCS’s first head of school, Charles Marsee, is also underway. Board President Maureen Quirk described the large room with its fireplace and comfortable seating as an accommodation to the school’s growth. When it opened in September of 1998 PCS had 72 students in grades four through six; it now serves 298 children in grades K through eight. The numerous proclamations, awards of distinction, and exemplary school awards won by the school every year since it began line the walls of the new room and surrounding hallways.

Board members also approved an annual trip to a hands-on “science expo” for seventh and eighth graders in March, and a trip for Math/Science teacher Mark Schlawin to the yearly meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, where he will be a presenter. It was reported that a PCS “website renovation” is planned, with a late fall completion date.

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