Rowan buys old Glassboro Intermediate School for office space

The 93-year-old vacant Intermediate School is now going to be remodeled for Rowan's new office space which is located 2.1 miles from The Chamberlain Student Center. - Copy Editor / Bryant Lopez

Glassboro School District sold the Glassboro Intermediate School to Rowan University for $3.4 million at the beginning of last year. The sale was approved by the New Jersey Department of Education in Dec. 2021 and became finalized on March 7, 2022. 

Built in 1930, The Intermediate School sits on 202 Delsea Drive and was first used as Glassboro’s high school. Rowan will be renovating the former elementary school and using it for administrative offices and alumni events.

Involved with renovating the Intermediate school are Alexis Breining, the director of design and planning services, and Alex Nichik, the new assistant vice president of facilities planning & operations for Rowan.

“We put together feasibility packages of what we think the person is asking for. A lot of the time people just say we need more space, but they don’t understand what that means. So we help try to make that a reality for them in the shape of a building,” Breining said.

There were many problems inside the building, according to Breining. All systems are failing in the building such as the mechanical spaces with 30-year-old boilers within the basement. One of the proposals of the building is to demolish all the existing boilers that don’t require someone to operate the boilers, which also will be a cost-saving measure.

All of the duct work in the building will be redone with new ceilings, all-new LED efficient lighting, and life safety systems such as smoke detectors and sprinklers. There will also be some minor plumbing updates. 

There will not be much of a change on the outside of the building according to Breining. But some of the windows will be changed as many of them are around 40 years old and they will be power washing the existing shell. They will be repointing the brick mortar, which would be chipping out the old mortar and replacing it with the new mortar. Inside the building will be adding HR training space and new state-of-the-art conference rooms.

There will be some demolition around the school such as a couple of old snack buildings and the annex building. They will be putting university events and the print shop on the location. 

“The ultimate goal is to get the staff out of the center of the campus and around the campus so that we can give the students back space for classroom space,” Breining said. “To see it all done. It gives you great pleasure no matter how challenging the job can be.”

Breining explained that moving the staff over to those office spaces could free up some parking spaces for others on campus.

The estimated cost for the renovation will be around $17.8 million according to Micheal Blake, the vice president of budget and financial planning for Rowan. Blake is over in both budget and purchasing departments that are involved with special projects such as bond offerings. Blake stated the purchase was made with institutional funds and the renovation costs are coming from bond offering.

“Compare it to a personal situation, it’s like taking out a mortgage. We go to the financial community and borrow a certain amount it gets complex as far as different bonds are due in different years,” said Blake. “But we go out to the financial community with a request to sell bonds and then they will purchase those bonds on the market. So it’s basically borrowing money to finance projects that we have that we then generally pay back over a 30-year period.”

The Intermediate School is 79,891 square feet in a three-story brick building that includes a one-story brick annex with a classroom and a wood-frame building for storage use. The full budget of the project will come up to $21 million.

According to Vice President for University Relations Joe Cardona, renovation of the building will not start until later this semester or in the winter.

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