Additional room for gym classes, indoor sports tournaments and even dance competitions could be coming to town in the near future.
The Township of Robbinsville and the Robbinsville Public School District are close to an agreement to build a nearly 20,000 square foot recreation center next to Robbinsville High School that could be used for all of these activities. .
The project would be built by the township and located on land owned by the school district, Mayor David Fried and Superintendent Brian Betze told The Advance.
“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be able to do that,” Fried said. “I’m really excited about it. It’s a great initiative between the city and the school.
Betze said the district administration and the school board are supportive of the project. “We’re all for it here at my level,” Betze said. “The board hasn’t seen the final designs, but we’ve spoken with the finance committee and they’re all in agreement as well.”
The township originally planned to locate a recreation/community center on the former Miry Run golf course which it acquired as open space in 2019, but changed direction once the possibility of locating the project on school site has become feasible.
According to the mayor, part of the problem with the Miry Run site is that the people who live and work near this property want it to be used for passive recreational purposes only.
Fried said he approached the school district about the idea several years ago, but was turned down.
“The process is something we thought about before, but the previous administration was not for it,” Fried said. “With the new superintendent, the idea resurfaced.”
“Management here at the district values working with the township,” Betze said. “The mayor and I have a very good working relationship, and this project is for the common good. I don’t know why this hasn’t been adopted before, but I can tell you that if it makes sense for our students and for the community, we’re okay with it. »
Both Fried and Betze said they believe the deal will benefit everyone. “It’s kind of a win-win, being able to help the schools and help the city,” Fried said.
He added that the location of the center on the school site “will create a significant advantage for us from an accessibility point of view… “We already have a very good infrastructure in place in terms of parking.
The building is planned to be located near the front parking lot of the school.
“We’re hoping to do some sort of land change where we can get some of the property behind our softball field and expand that way,” Betze said. “That way we can use the utilities, electricity, heating and cooling systems that we have in high school.”
Essentially, the plan calls for the building to be used on weekdays by the school district, and nights and weekends by the township.
“The school district almost always lacks indoor space,” Fried said. “So during the day when we’re not using it, they would have a place to go in bad weather and also continue to use it for their teams.”
Betze said that in bad weather, “we can move a class or two there. They can play basketball, volleyball, maybe indoor football or something, and that will help us tremendously during the day. We have not contacted the teachers or coaches yet. I’m sure they’ll find ways to use it.
The canton already has big plans for the centre.
“One of the things we’ve always wanted to be able to do is be able to compete in tournaments,” Fried said. “Having the three buildings side by side – Pond, the high school and the recreation building – would give us some serious tournament opportunities.”
He added: “Tournaments have become quite big so having multiple schools to be able to run a big tournament is something everyone is looking at. And believe it or not, dance tournaments have become really popular.
“The high school is usually always full, so having another facility to do great dancing or cheering type activities would be something else we could do,” he said. “You’d be surprised how popular these tournaments in all venues are becoming.”
The mayor said the building can also be used by the township for recreation camps during the summer.
For the project to proceed, school and municipal officials still need to work out the final details, and then the agreement will be submitted to the board of education and the municipal council for approval.
Betze said details to be ironed out include issues such as building maintenance responsibility, who will pay for utilities, insurance and other similar logistical issues. “Once we’re both happy with that, we can go ahead with the project.”