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Referendum Central

Below, in reverse chronological order, are ongoing status reports for the referendum proposed to Lawrence voters on January 23, 2018. The first posting outlines what the district proposed in the referendum. The order and timeline of projects may fluctuate occasionally depending upon the architects' research of specifics needed for each location as well as construction needs. Questions should be addressed to Tom Eldridge, business administrator, at  or (609) 671-5420.


September 25, 2018 - as reported by Business Administrator Tom Eldridge to staff and as shared at the September 12, 2018 Board of Education meeting.


As you may recall we will be residing, re-ramping, and installing new windows in the Slackwood (SL), Lawrenceville (LES), and Ben Franklin (BF) modular buildings.  The bids we received last Spring were rejected because they were over our budget.  We're re-advertised for bids and will open them on November 1 with hopes that we can award the contracts at the November 14 BOE meeting.  There will be separate contracts for each type of work on the modular buildings.  We hope to replace the windows over the winter (at night) and complete the rest of the work during breaks.  


The Security Vestibule projects are also out to bid again.  We also will receive these bids on November 1 with the hopes of awarding the projects at the November 14 BOE meeting.  The vestibules will be installed at SL, Eldridge Park (EP), the Intermediate School (LIS), and the Middle School (LMS).   EP, LIS, and LMS will have the vestibules installed outside of the building under the existing Main Entrance porticos.  SL will have a security wall and doors installed at the top of the interior steps (within the building) adjacent to the Main Office.  



June 13, 2018 - as reported by Business Administrator Tom Eldridge at Board of Education meeting


Summer 2018 plans include work on the modulars at all four elementary schools and the vestibules at Slackwood, Lawrence Middle School, Eldridge Park, and Lawrence Intermediate School. Bids were issued to general contractors for these projects. We rejected all bids as they came in too high, largely due to the cost of metal increasing 60%. We will go out to bid again and will reissue them to specific rather than general contractors.  

April 25, 2018 - as reported by Business Administrator Tom Eldridge at Board of Education meeting


Security-related items will be done first. Work planned for the 2018 summer includes the following:

  • Vestibules--bids for plans to establish vestibules at Slackwood, the Middle School, Eldridge Park, and the Intermediate School should be out in mid- to the end of May with the hope of awarding the bids in June. Construction is anticipated through the month of September.
  • Access Controls—we are bringing in vendors and exploring available products. Additionally, we’re visiting other districts to get feedback about products we’re considering. Efficiency as well as sustainability are considerations for all products.
  • Modulars--work on the modulars at the four elementary schools includes residing, reramping, new window installation, and HVAC upgrades. 

April 2018 - as reported in The Link, the district's newsletter for the Lawrence community


Thanks once again to Lawrence voters who approved the January 23, 2018 referendum. Here’s what’s next as we move forward with the approved projects.


On February 7, the administration, board members, architects, and members of the support and teaching staff met to begin the “Design and Development” phase of our security initiatives.  The purpose of the meeting was to gain a more detailed understanding of how to maximize benefits the construction would make on security in the schools and classrooms.  Participants shared their insight regarding preventing unapproved access to our buildings, how to enhance communications within the buildings and with first responders, and how to speed up response times by leveraging technology during “lockdowns.”


On February 12, the administration met with the architects and engineers to discuss the sequence of construction as it pertains to which projects we would like to complete first.  It was decided that we will begin with the security initiatives of access controls, telephones, and other communications.  Concurrently we will begin to work on building vestibules at Lawrence Middle School, Lawrence Intermediate School, Slackwood School, and Eldridge Park School.  We anticipate work to begin in the early fall. 


While we work on security we will begin work on the modular building renovations at the four elementary schools and the larger HVAC (air conditioning) project, which will occur in all buildings.  Renovations on the modulars is a simpler project and may be completed as early as this summer.  The more difficult HVAC project will not begin until the summer of 2019 due to complex design requirements.


Towards the end of March, our architects surveyed district buildings to design air conditioning installations. Additionally we’ve done site visits of other districts to explore what security measures we want to implement.


Finally, the elevator project at Lawrence Middle School is being reviewed for “phasing.”  Phasing is the construction language addressing the “when” question.  We are exploring the idea of constructing during the school year, if possible, but this determination remains unsettled.   


Where possible, we will limit construction to summers and evenings. We are mindful that we must phase our work so as not to unduly disrupt our summer programs.  It has been ten years since we lived with the disruption of construction.  We do our best to minimize the displacement of programs and services during this multi-year effort.

January 23, 2018


The referendum passed!  71% of those who voted said Yes! 


We sincerely thank those community residents who voted for our proposal for facilities and security improvements. We appreciate your investment in your schools and your support of Lawrence students and staff.


As we move forward, we will keep you posted on the timelines of various projects contained within the referendum. Work will not happen overnight. Plans must be finalized, bids extended, and projects scheduled in consideration of school schedules. It will take months to complete all projects provided for within the referendum. Stay tuned!

The referendum vote is January 23, 2018. Lawrence residents should vote in their normal polling location. Polls are open 6AM - 8PM.


The April, July, and November, 2017 and January 2018 editions of The Link, the district's newsletter for the Lawrence community, and the September 2017 Back-to-School Bulletin included articles about an upcoming referendum the Board of Education (BOE) is bringing before Lawrence Township residents for a vote on January 23, 2018.


The estimated cost of the referendum is approximately $25 million. Business Administrator Tom Eldridge submitted the proposed projects and projected costs, supplied by our architects, to the New Jersey Department of Education, to learn how much of the cost will be paid by the state. The feedback we received is that all projects are eligible for partial state funding. Thus, the state of New Jersey will pay 40% of the costs of the referendum.


Referendum projects include:


  • air conditioning classrooms and some other spaces not already air conditioned;
  • life safety & security system upgrades at all schools and district buildings including telephone, public address, intrusion alarm and access control systems;
  • boiler and heating system replacement at Lawrence Middle School (LMS) and Lawrence High School;
  • elevator construction and related work at LMS (to provide accessibility to all parts of the school for those persons on crutches, in a wheelchair, or who have a disability); and
  • security vestibule construction at Slackwood School, Eldridge Park School, Lawrence Intermediate School, and LMS.


The presentaion on the referendum given by Business Administrator Tom Eldridge at the Community Conversation on November 30, 2017 breaks out the costs of the referendum by building/school and by project category. Community Conversation Referendum Presentation


Not registered to vote? Use the applications linked below to register. You must be registered 21 days before an election or referendum in order to vote.


Voter registration form - English

Voter registration form - Spanish 


Referendum Q & A - more details!


We will provide referendum updates at BOE meetings and via social media such as our website (, free e-newsletter QuickNews (subscribe via our website), district Facebook page, and Twitter account (follow


Questions? Contact Tom Eldridge at (609) 671-5420 or