The Hudson County freeholders and other local officials took a tour of the under-construction High Tech High School campus in Secaucus on June 15. The school is on track to open September 2018, moving from High Tech's current North Bergen campus. The school is a highly competitive public countywide high school that accepts students from all local towns.
The current High Tech campus is set to become North Bergen High School some time in 2019.
Officials from the Hudson County Schools of Technology also were on hand for the tour. The $160 million, 360,000 square foot school lies across 23 acres, and is located next to Laurel Hill Park.
It will feature 100 classrooms, a green roof, swimming pool, geothermal heating, windmills, and a 398 seat gym, among other refinements. As a regional magnet school, High Tech is known as one of the more challenging schools to gain admission to in New Jersey.
The new campus is situated near the Secaucus Junction New Jersey Transit train station, which has connections to Hoboken and New York City. The officials took a 10 to 15-minute bus ride around the school's exterior, then another tour of the school's interior. The campus and buildings are approximately 50 percent completed, officials said.
“It's going to be the best school in the state, and I don't say that lightly,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “It's set just adjacent to the beautiful Laurel Hill Park and the Meadowlands. This is our investment in the youth of Hudson County. We're going to give them the best school in the state, a chance for them to learn and succeed and get a head start in life.”
Freeholder Anthony Vainieri was awestruck after taking the external tour. “It's absolutely astonishing,” Vainieri said.
“It's a tremendous accomplishment the county did in cooperation with the Schools of Technology and Hudson County Improvement Authority. Whoever goes to this school, God bless them; they have it made. It's a great thing we're doing for our kids. I would've loved to be in a high school like this.”
HCST Board of Education President Craig Guy was also on hand. “We've seen this school grow from infancy to the structure that it is now,” Guy said. He said that 400 people are working on the project now. “We have a state-of-the-art school that's going to be second to none. Not only in the state, but we feel throughout the country.”
Joseph Sirangelo, HCST's assistant superintendent, is frequently on hand at the site to monitor its progress and help finish it.
“It's 50 percent done. We're right on schedule,” Sirangelo said. “I've been planning this for over 10 years, and you cannot appreciate it till you see the physical product.” Sirangelo revealed that during the school's planning process, High-Tech's students conjured up design ideas for the project.
“That was very helpful to us, actually,” Sirangelo said. “Because the students said things they wanted to see and have in a school. They thought of a lot of positive things that we added. You'll see a lot of windows, a lot of natural light, a lot of windows that open so they get ventilation.”
He added that there weren't many places in the county that provided as many acres as the current site, which is actually located right in the county's center, according to Sirangelo.
“It's everything that we planned for,” added Allyson Krone, High Tech's assistant principal, after she finished a tour.
Hannington Dia can be reached at email@example.com