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West End School in Long Branch Likely to Close in 2014

Closing will coincide with opening of Catrambone School

The West End School in Long Branch will likely close in 2014, once construction of the new George L. Catrambone School is completed.

"It's the oldest and smallest school in the district and the utilities cannot match the newer schools' utilities in efficiency," Long Branch School District Superintendent Michael Salvatore said this week. "It's a great school but it doesn't meet today's standards."

Salvatore said some of those issues include the fact that the school, located at 132 West End Ave., has no ramps and has three floors and no elevator.

He said the school would be taken "offline" once the Catrambone School is open, which he hopes will be in the summer of 2014.

"Taking it offline means it's not going to be used for students and it could mean we will attempt to sell the property," Salvatore said. "The cost to renovate it would be entirely to expensive."

Closing the school, which serves kindergarten through fifth grade students, would mean redistricting for students. However, the Catrambone School will be a 109,000 square-foot, two-story facility designed to educate approximately 800 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades, so it would likely be able to handle students who were attending West End School.

The Catrambone School will be constructed on the site of the former Elberon Elementary School which was demolished in 2009. The facility will include 41 classrooms, four special education classrooms, a cafetorium, stage, computer room, gymnasium, media center/library, art room and a music room.

Salvatore said construction of the Catrambone School is "progressing nicely," and that the contractor is meeting deadlines.

"The contractor is very aggressive in terms of meeting the target completion date," Salvatore said.

Salvatore said there is a possibility that construction could be completed by July, 2014 and that summer camp could be held at the school.

Big Whitey February 06, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Who Is George Catambrone? My wife thinks he is a WWII hero, I say he was a hero from The Vietnam conflict. Please settle our bet.
Christopher Sheldon (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Whitey, as far as I know, he was an administrator for the Long Branch School District. Not sure about the WWII or Vietnam accolades LOL. He seemed to young to have fought in either of those, but I could be wrong.
Viviane Morais February 07, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Really sad that west end school will close. The best thing about it is how small it is and how all staff get to know you and you to know them all. They know who your kids are , they know you by the name and the relationship is very friendly and familiar . I truly hope it doesn't happen. I don't really care if the facility is not fancy as the other schools. Some things matter most .
Toni Pacheco February 07, 2013 at 03:48 AM
reading this is very upsetting to me. This will be it for neighborhood schools in LB. They plan on knocking down one of the last true neighborhood schools to build yet another large, impersonal school. West End was the perfect school for my 9 year old who struggles with anxiety issues. When hearing that his school might be closed before he has the chance to complete his elementary school years, my son became VERY upset. we know he only has another year before entering the middle school, but he was hoping for another year in a small school. With 3 children, one entering pre k next year, my husband and I are looking into alternatives for their education. Why couldn't they leave just one small building and upgrade it.
Toni Pacheco February 07, 2013 at 03:56 AM
So true! I'm so disappointed that it may close. Truly, something can be done to accommodate wheelchairs. They SHOULD ALREADY have ramps, its not that hard. We had one put in for my grandmother. With all the problems and tragedies involving schools lately, my kids just feel safer that their in west end. More like family.
Big Whitey February 07, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Thanks Chris, I am sure you know that I was kidding. I find it reprehensible that we are naming schools after highly paid administrators. It is not like they were volunteers. He could be a great man, who helped a lot of kids. But it is still wrong to name schools after public employees. How about one thing named after Sam Mills?
Juli Berg February 07, 2013 at 04:00 PM
This is the BEST elementary school in Long Branch, and it's closing. Another example of convenience (who cares if there's not an elevator?) winning over common educational sense. It's a SMALL school, which children feel more comfortable in. It will be a sad sad day for the Long Branch school system when this hidden treasure of a school closes.
Toni Pacheco February 07, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I'm finding that a lot of people feel the same way my husband & I do about this closing. We should start a petition or something. Any ideas?
Big Whitey February 07, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Perhaps they wont close it after all. My bet is they spend millions on a complete renovation. And then, like the old Broadway school, they move more administrators in. I can just picture a nice marble bathroom.
Peter Koenig February 07, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I question the use of funds here. The administration doesn't state that the cost of bringing West End School up to standards is less than the (handsome) cost of the new school. If West End is a "great school" (and I agree, esp. compared with others in LB) except for some renovation work, then why not do the work and preserve a great school? In a broader sense, educational quality does not depend on the age or design of buildings. LB has spent a fortune in state-provided funds on new construction, but test scores and orher measures of educational effectiveness still lag. I await in vain the day when a LB school administrator discusses test scores, the NCLB status of LB schools, or other measures of academic achievement.

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