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Camden (N.J.) district wants to replace aging high school with $105 million campus

March 6, 2023
Instead of sticking with a $49 million renovation plan for Eastside High, the district has proposed constructing a new building.

The Camden (N.J.) district has proposed replacing Eastside High School with a $105 million facility.

The Camden Courier Post reports that replacing the 94-year-old campus marks a significant expensive change in plans for the district, which announced in November that it would pursue a $49 million renovation of Eastside, formerly known as Woodrow Wilson High.

Under the original plan, approved in December, two district schools — Yorkship Family School and Veterans Family School — were to be razed and replaced with new schools.

The amended plans call for Yorkship to be rebuilt at cost of $60 million; Veterans would receive "substantial renovations," the district added. Those costs, along with the $105 million estimated for a new Eastside High School, would leave the district with a $45 million shortfall.

Eastside High has an enrollment of 517 students. The proposed replacement campus would accommodate 750 students.

In 2021, the district opened a $133 million Camden High School campus that housed four separate school communities: the traditional Camden High School and three magnet schools: Brimm Medical Arts, Big Picture Learning Academy and Creative Arts.

Meanwhile, Eastside students, parents, faculty and alumni had long complained about the condition of their school.

The November announcement was supposed to address those concerns. Eastside was to get a new library, rooms for its arts, automotive, culinary arts and cosmetology programs, new auditorium and new gymnasium.

The amended plan calls for a school with all of that, as well as a new cafeteria, media centers for digital media, video editing and maker space; computer/technology and performing arts labs; spaces for Junior ROTC and trade instruction, including welding, HVAC, construction, plumbing, medical arts and nursing assistants.

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