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April 27, 2020 — Site Comparison Report - 50 Jersey Avenue & Lincoln Annex School

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50 Jersey Avenue & Lincoln Annex School

City of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey

23 April 2020







3.     SITES










This report assesses the suitability of the 50 Jersey Avenue site identified as a potential location for a new elementary school project for grades K through 8 (“Project”) for the New Brunswick Public School District (“District”) in the City of New Brunswick, New Jersey.  The report compares the potential site to the existing Lincoln Annex School at 165 Somerset Street. 

The new school at 50 Jersey Avenue would serve as a replacement for the existing Lincoln Annex School, which currently serves students in grades 4 to 8.  Development of a new school that can accommodate grades K to 8 would provide the District with the flexibility to accommodate children in all elementary school grades should it so desire.  

It is anticipated that the 50 Jersey Avenue Project will be comprised of an approximately 125,000 to 130,000 square foot, multi-story elementary school with onsite parking, an area for student drop-off, and an outdoor playground area.  In addition to the appropriate number and type of classrooms, the school facility will also include a cafeteria, gymnasium, media center and a multipurpose room/ auditorium.

The report assesses the suitability of the site with respect to its ability to support the proposed building program outlined above, the availability of appropriate infrastructure to support the development of a new school and other development considerations including environmental conditions to the extent that they are known. The report compares these proposed development features to those at the existing Lincoln Annex School.




The potential site located at 50 Jersey Avenue and the existing Lincoln Annex School were evaluated based on a series of program and site layout considerations.

Program considerations evaluated include the gross amount of available program space and the efficiency of architectural layouts. Development considerations include overall site design and environmental conditions. 

A summary of the overall program and development considerations for the potential site compared to those of the existing school is provided in the table on the following page. 






Current Use


Elementary School

Previous Use



Site Area

±4.5 Acres

±1.7 Acres

Developable/Developed Area

±4.5 Acres

±1.7 Acres

Adjacent Uses



Street Frontage

3 Roads

3 Roads


Jersey Handy Redevelopment Area

Healthcare and Research Pavilion Redevelopment Plan




Building Footprint

±64,300 SF (Option 1)

±67,000 SF (Option 2)

±36,800 SF

Total Square Footage

±126,000 SF

±98,000 SF

Number of Stories

3 Stories

3 Stories

Estimated Parking Spaces

±107 Spaces (Option 1)

±122 Spaces (Option 2)

±40 Spaces

Estimated Playground Area

±16,000 SF (Option 1)    ±18,000 SF (Option 2)

No playground




Number of Classrooms



FES Student Population



Capacity based on District Practices



Large Group Spaces

Cafeteria, Gymnasium, Multi-Purpose Room

Cafeteria, Combine Gym and Multi-Purpose Room

Overall Building Configuration



Site Access



Site Circulation



Student Drop-Off Area



Playground Facilities









Historic Fill/Capping



Groundwater Monitoring



LSRP Permitting / Closure




R = Required   LR = Likely Required 

LNR = Likely Not Required   NR = Not Required  






Note – A single column has been provided for 2 concept plan options on 50 Jersey Avenue as the assessment of both options on that site are similar. 



The following section further details the evaluation criteria for the 50 Jersey Avenue site and the existing school site.


Program considerations used to evaluate the 50 Jersey Avenue site and the existing school site include the amount of developable land available for program space and the efficiency of the resulting conceptual proposed site layouts and existing school layout. 

The 50 Jersey Avenue Project is proposed as a new elementary school that will accommodate grades K – 8 and will be designed to a State of New Jersey Facilities Efficiency Standard (FES) population of 908 students. Based on the District’s Practices Capacity, we anticipate that the school with a FES population of 908 could accommodate up to 1,100 students. A school of this size could accommodate up to 350 more students than that of the existing school, which has a current population of approximately 750 students. 

The overall efficiency of conceptual site layouts and the existing school are based on building configuration, site access, site circulation, student drop-off, playground facilities, and parking.



The following sections provide an evaluation of the 50 Jersey Avenue site and the existing school site based on the program considerations previously outlined. 


The site at 50 Jersey Avenue comprises Block 222, Lot 1.04, Comstock Street, and a portion of Block 185.01, Lot 11.01. The approximate 4.5-acre site is bound by Jersey Avenue to the north, Hale Street (vacated) to the east, the northeast corridor rail line to the south, and Delavan Street to the west. The site is currently vacant and the existing ground cover is largely pervious.

                                               i.     SITE LAYOUT

Two conceptual site layouts for 50 Jersey Avenue are provided in Appendix A.  Both concepts address the same building program, however one of the options orients the school to front along the vacated Hale Street and the other orients the school to front along Jersey Avenue.   The Option 1 conceptual site layout yields a ±64,300-square-foot building footprint, a ±16,000-square-foot playground, and ±107 onsite parking spaces.   The Option 2 conceptual site layout yields a ±67,000-square-foot building footprint, a ±18,000-square-foot playground, and ±122 onsite parking spaces.   Both options provide a 3-story, 126,000 square foot building and two student drop-off zones, including one for cars and one for buses.

                                              ii.     SITE EVALUATION

The site at 50 Jersey Avenue has limited natural resources and zoning constraints, which allows most of the 4.5-acre site to be developed for the Project. The site is shaped such that it can be developed to provide a functional parking lot and two student drop-off areas, while providing ample ground-floor school space and playground areas.   Site access is provided from Jersey Avenue, and from smaller streets including Delavan Street and the vacated Hale Street. 

The presence of historic fill and groundwater monitoring onsite requires environmental and Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) permitting.  Additional information relative to site environmental conditions and permitting is provided in Section 4 of this report.  

Because the Project will increase impervious coverage on the project site by more than 0.25 acres and will disturb more than 1 acre of land, stormwater management measures will be required. In order to satisfy stormwater quantity requirements while maintaining the conceptual site layout, the design will likely include an underground detention system or an above ground detention basin along the site's southern property line.



The existing school site is located on Block 51, Lot 2.01. The approximate 1.7-acre site is bound by residential and commercial lots to the north, Hardenberg Street to the east, Somerset Street to the south, and Division Street to the west.

                                               i.     SITE LAYOUT

A schematic site plan showing the existing school site is provided in Appendix A. The Lincoln Annex School is a 3-story building with an at-grade footprint of approximately 36,800 square feet. The main entrance to the Lincoln Annex School is located on Somerset Street. A 40-space surface lot is located at the rear of the school. There is no playground at the existing school site.

                                              ii.     SITE EVALUATION

Due to lot size and urban constraints, the existing school site is developed to its full capacity. The Lincoln Annex School and accompanying parking lot occupy the extents of the site, and as a result, there is no open space or designated student drop-off. Drop-offs and pick-ups are generally performed in the surrounding roadways and create traffic congestion during drop-off and pick-up periods. 

Among other criteria, the selected site for the new elementary school is recommended to consist of at least 3 contiguous acres, provide sufficient parking for all staff and visitors, provide an outdoor play area for students, and provide a safe and functional student drop-off area. In effect, the minimum criteria established for the new school site exceed the characteristics of existing school site. 

The presence of historic fill onsite has required the institution of a deed restriction for the site, the installation and long-term monitoring of the cap, and biennial certification reporting by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP).  Additional information relative to site environmental conditions and permitting is provided in Section 4 of this report.



The environmental conditions at 50 Jersey Avenue and at the existing Lincoln Annex site are commonly encountered at redevelopment sites in New Brunswick and other densely-populated areas.  The conditions observed at 50 Jersey Avenue are similar in nature and remedy to those currently present at Lincoln Annex. 

The environmental concerns identified prior to the renovation of the Lincoln Annex School were addressed and have been managed by the capping of historic fill on the site.  The Remedial Action Permit (RAP) obtained from the NJDEP for the Lincoln Annex property requires monitoring of the cap.  Similar controls and monitoring would be required at 50 Jersey Avenue. 


Environmental assessment and cleanup for educational facilities are guided through several legislative and regulatory requirements.  These requirements have been in place for over a decade and outline comprehensive and predictable methods for environmental cleanups at educational facilities.  These legislative and regulatory requirements include oversight from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and from NJDEP and NJDOH-accredited professionals.  Following is a summary of relevant New Jersey environmental requirements that are addressed when developing a school facility. 

N.J.S.A. 52:27D-130.4 - Madden Legislation

The “Madden Legislation” details requirements for the completion of environmental assessments and cleanups of Educational Facility sites prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the local building department and prior to licensure from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF).  These assessments and cleanups are required to be performed under the oversight of a New Jersey LSRP and performed in accordance with the NJDEP Technical Requirements for Site Remediation. Information about site conditions is reviewed by NJDEP and NJDOH. 

N.J.A.C. 7.26E - Technical Requirements for Site Remediation  

The Technical Requirements for Site Remediation specify the requirements for the assessment and cleanup of sites in order for a LSRP to document that the status of the site is protective of human health, safety, and the environment (through issuance of a document called a Response Action Outcome (RAO)).  In order for the LSRP to issue an RAO, the property must be cleaned up to NJDEP Remediation Standards, which can include either: 

  • Attainment of Unrestricted-Use criteria (i.e., no exceedances of the most stringent standard);
  • Application of NJDEP’s Presumptive Remedies (cleanup measurers that have been prescribed by the NJDEP); or
  • Remediation using a pre-approved NJDEP Alternative Remedy.


N.J.A.C. 8:50 - Standards for Indoor Environment Certification and Licensure of Indoor Environmental Consultants

Prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy from the local building department, the NJDOH requires the completion of an Indoor Environmental Health Assessment (IEHA).  This assessment will evaluate conditions inside the Educational Facility (e.g., radon, indoor air, asbestos, and lead-based paint) to verify compliance with regulatory standards.

Standards established by all applicable rules governing environmental cleanup, including those referenced here, have been followed on the existing Lincoln Annex site and will be required to be followed in the development of 50 Jersey Avenue. 



The Lincoln Annex School property has an active NJDEP SRP case covering the entire property and has similar environmental conditions to the 50 Jersey Avenue site.  These impacts were addressed during the conversion of the site to the current Lincoln Annex School.  Investigations into environmental conditions at the site began in 2013, where the LSRP for the site identified the following conditions warranting further investigation/remediation: 

  • Historic fill across the site, with impacts from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
  • Three former #2 heating oil underground storage tanks (USTs) with a capacity to hold up to 23,000 gallons of oil.
  • Asbestos containing materials (ACM) requiring removal / abatement.

The USTs and residual impacts were excavated from the site and ACM was abated prior to the opening of the Lincoln Annex School.  However, as historic fill was noted to extend across the entire site, the LSRP elected to cap the historic fill in place in accordance with applicable regulations.  The cap was put into place prior to the opening of Lincoln Annex School, and a deed notice detailing the extent of impacts and the cap construction was recorded on February 9, 2016.  A RAP was issued by the NJDEP on April 10, 2019. 



The 50 Jersey Avenue site has an active NJDEP Site Remediation Program (SRP) case covering a portion of the property.  The LSRP for this site has identified soil contamination from historic fill with additional localized areas of soil contamination related to historical operations.  Groundwater contamination was identified and is related to the historic fill.  In addition, groundwater migrating on to the site from off-site sources contains chlorinated solvents at concentrations exceeding NJDEP standards.  These chlorinated solvents were noted by the site's LSRP to be limited to one well at the southwest corner of the site. 

The environmental response activities expected at 50 Jersey Avenue are summarized below. Generally, these activities can be implemented concurrent with redevelopment. Ultimately, the specific cleanup activities will be based on the final development plans and additional environmental investigations to be performed.  The anticipated activities include: 

  • Installation of a vapor mitigation system to mitigate the potential infiltration of radon and volatile organic compounds vapors (e.g., chlorinated solvent) even if such mitigation system is not required based on confirmed conditions on the site.
  • Excavation of impacted soils concurrent with the installation of the building foundations.
  • Capping of residual soil contamination consistent with the NJDEP’s Presumptive Remedy requirements.
  • Institution of a soil deed notice, Groundwater Classification Exception Area (CEA), and a soil Remedial Action Permit (RAP) for the residual contamination that remains under the cap. The RAP will specify the inspection, monitoring, maintenance and reporting requirements necessary to verify the long-term protectiveness of the cleanup.
  • Issuance of a site-wide Response Action Outcome (RAO) by an LSRP.
  • Completion of an Indoor Environmental Health Assessment (IEHA) investigation and approval by the NJDOH.
  • Ongoing stewardship obligations as specified in the RAP.

These types of environmental cleanup measures are established under various state laws and regulations and are commonly implemented at redevelopment sites in New Brunswick and across the state. 



The Proposed 50 Jersey Avenue School Program is based on a New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) model for an elementary school that will support grades from K to 8 and modified to suit the District’s needs.  Though the current Lincoln Annex School supports grades 4 through 8, the development of a K to 8 school will provide flexibility to the District in its long term planning of school facilities.  The program for this Project is based on a Facilities Efficiencies Standard (FES) capacity of 908 students. As stated earlier, based on the District’s Practices Capacity, we anticipate that the school with a FES population of 908 could accommodate up to 1,100 students.   

The program includes a General Classroom count of 43 and 5 Self-Contained Special Education (SCSE) classrooms.  The allowance for Small Group Instruction (SGI) rooms will allow for 7-8 SGI rooms, or an increase of 3-4 SCSE rooms.  

This program is also based on three separate Large Group Component spaces including an individual Gymnasium, Cafeteria, and Multi-Purpose room with a stage.  The development of these spaces as three separate rooms rather than combining them into multi-use rooms allows the District more flexibility in scheduling and educational services, as well as offering more spaces to the Community.  

These Large Group spaces will be organized to be adjacent to each other and separate from the instructional components of the school to enable use by the Community without disruption to the security and operation of the instructional spaces. 

The program uses the NJDOE maximum allowed grossing factor of 1.55 which brings the target maximum square feet of the school to 134,788.  The current actual grossing factor is 1.45 and the current square footage of 50 Jersey Avenue is 126,000 square feet.  

In comparison, the existing Lincoln Annex School currently houses students in grades 4-8 in 32 general classrooms.  Combined with Self Contained Special Education rooms the FES capacity is 695. 

The Lincoln Annex School only has a combined Gymnasium/Multi-purpose room with a stage and a cafeteria with a kitchen.  This is less flexible than the proposed three spaces at 50 Jersey Ave. 

The grossing factor for the Lincoln Annex School – which measures the ratio of programmed academic space to gross square footage - does not meet the standards for new facilities established by the NJDOE.  The 1.70 grossing factor for the current school indicates that only +57,500 SF of the +98,000 Gross SF is used for programmatic uses.  The proposed replacement school at 50 Jersey Avenue assumes a 1.45 grossing factor, providing +87,000 SF of programmed educational space in a school with +126,000 Gross SF. 

The high grossing factor at the existing Lincoln Annex School is due primarily to the fact that the school is actually two separate schools, each with its own boiler plant and utility services.  In a new school this would be combined and be much more efficient, thus reducing the grossing factor.  Also, mechanical/utility spaces in older buildings are larger than what is required in new facilities, further increasing the grossing factor of older buildings.



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