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A Transformed RHS Library No Longer Just a Dream

New state-of-the-art library and Ridgewood High School could be ready in September of 2013 thanks to strong fundraising efforts.

It's no longer just a hope – with $600,000 in the bank, a coalition of Ridgewood parents will see the first envisioned by former RHS principal Jack Lorenz.

RHS Learning Commons, an offshoot of the high school Home and School Association (HSA), reported to the school board Monday that thanks to an outpouring of support, it's just a matter of time before the high school library is demolished and built anew.

The original proposal – just an estimate – projected the construction work to total about $600,000, with an additional $250,000 still needed for the interior, including technology.

"From the minute we started this project the entire community has really embraced this project and been really behind it," RHS HSA President Lori Weil told Patch Tuesday. "Next year's seniors will benefit from a new and improved Learning Commons."

The three-month project is likely to start once finals end, with the ribbon cutting projected for mid-to-late September. The library hasn't seen meaningful work done in about 50 years.

Said Weil: "One of the reasons I was so excited to become Home and School president for the high school this year was because I think this is a really exciting project, both for the students at Ridgewood High School and those coming up the ranks, but also it's an opportunity to bring our community together to work for the whole town."

The Ridgewood Education Foundation (REF) provided an early dose of enthusiasm for the project, donating $100,000. The Ridgewood Board of Education also provided $400,000. Various donors round out the remaining $100,000, thus far. Support, Weil said, has been strong among those of all educational levels, particularly those with students in the middle schools.

The Learning Commons group is hoping to get more donations before the gala re-scheduled for Jan. 11.

"We dealt with some challenges which is why postponed the fundraiser," Weil said, citing Hurricane Sandy's wrath.

The fundraiser is bolstered by a new schools committee set up to expand the focus of education-related projects in the years to come.

Dubbed the "07450 Committee" and boasting 100 members, parents represented by all district schools as well as empty nesters will be exploring how to keep the momentum going.

"It's really been a true community effort and everybody's come together," Weil said. "Our idea is with this 07450 schools committee is we've laid the foundation for the schools going forward to continue to work on a common purpose, whether it be at the high school or somewhere else in town."

JV November 29, 2012 at 12:46 AM
It speaks well of our schools community that such a project as this library effort has been given solid support. Keeping the students of the Ridgewood Public Schools well-connected to the structure and rigor of the contemporary American education found in many quality communities is certainly a positive. Preparation for higher education is something the best colleges and universities value greatly in their applicants, and this project both expands and strengthens the likelihood that our children will continue to be well received by same. the 07450 group could be a productive way for a new group of parents to come together and add to the push forward. Hope for their success is not unreasonable. I just hope there is no actual plan "to work on a common purpose...at the high school or somewhere else in town." It seems neither appropriate nor necessary to involve school groups in non-school related community issues. But when all is said and done, these seem like good things for the students of the district.
Amanda November 29, 2012 at 05:15 PM
im laughing this is ridiculous omg THIS IS A HIGH SCHOOL not MIT
Joe November 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Maybe you should familiarize yourself with what's happening in education today, Amanda. (And then grow up.) It's not "MIT"-like to want to upgrade a library that hasn't changed in 50 years, especially since the way students learn and the tools they use have changed so dramatically.
RU November 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
at least the football team isnt getting the money
Brian November 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM
What a great project. A library is the heart of any serious academic community. I just hope all those TVs in the drawings are embellishment. Libraries, even today, should be primarily quiet places for study and thought. I am not sure the Airport style barrage of screens is really helpful to that objective.
rich schultz June 12, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Whats wrong with the Public Library, no tram? Jeeeeze.

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