staircase rebuilding
A closed-off staircase at Montclair High School.
PHOTO COURTESY NATHANIEL WODNICK

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Montclair is now accepting a second round of bids for the staircase repair project at Montclair High School.

The bidding process officially opened on April 3, and the board expects to award the bid on Monday, April 15.

Parents of high school students and current eighth-graders were notified of the timeline and bidding process in a letter that the district sent out over the weekend.

The bid is for the asbestos abatement and for the actual construction work on the stairs.

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The asbestos abatement is scheduled to take place from May 20 to July 1. The staircase reconstruction is scheduled to take place from July 2 to Aug. 23.

The high school will close May 20. Many of the students will be off campus due to Advanced Placement tests and for senior option internships. All classes at the high school will be moved to the George Inness Annex.

On social media, some parents raised concerns that the anticipated end of construction would fall very close to a student orientation session for freshmen at the high school on Aug. 27.

In March, the district rejected four bids for the project. One of the bids did not contain all of the required paperwork, while the other three came in above budget.

The township has approved a $2,031,000 bond ordinance for the staircase project. Of this, $531,000 was for expenses that the BOE incurred, and the remaining $1,500,000 was for the actual staircase construction, according to Business Administrator Emidio D’Andrea.

The second and third floors at the high school have been inaccessible to students and most of the staff since September, after a basement-level section of the Park Street-facing staircase partially collapsed on Sept. 5. The district’s architects determined that all four of the staircases in the original 1914 section of the high school would have to be replaced, and those four staircases were closed off.