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Bennett Bubble Almost Back Up

Measure to repair the indoor track complex flattened by Hurricane Sandy was approved by school board unanimously

The Bennett Athletic Center was nearly re-inflated Saturday morning.

Toms River School District spokeswoman Tammi Millar said the "bubble" was 95 percent inflated, and the district's maintenance foreman, John Biscotti, was on site.

A schedule for future events is posted on the center's webste, indicating the postponements that came as a result of Sandy:

Sat. December 15 DEMAREST INVITATIONAL (postponed until December 22)
Postponed due to Hurricane Sandy Wed. December 19 SOUTH JERSEY TRACK MEET
Fri. December 21 Olympic Conference
Sat. December 22 Demarest Inviational Postponed from December 15
Postponed due to Hurricane Sandy Sat. December 22 MERLI LARGE / MERLI SMALL Postponed until December 29th
Meet postponed due to Hurricane Sandy Thu. December 27 SOUTH JERSEY TRACK MEET
Sat. December 29 Merli Invitaional Large and Small Schools (postponed from 12-22)
Meet may be combined depending on amount of schools entered Wed. January 2 SOUTH JERSEY TRACK MEET
Thu. January 3 SOUTH JERSEY TRACK MEET
Fri. January 4 GREATER MIDDLESEX CONFERENCE

The cost of fixing the center could come in at $800,000, but the Toms River Regional School District is hoping FEMA would pay for 75 percent of the cost after an insurance deductible, leaving the school district with a $25,000 bill.

In a recent special board meeting, Toms River Regional school board heard from residents, Intermediate East staff and physical education teachers and coaches about whether to repair the flattened Bennett “Bubble,” which ripped as Hurricane Sandy’s high winds and power outages hit Toms River.

The structure, on the Intermediate East campus, has lain flat since the storm, in what district officials said has risked the coming indoor track season as well as overcrowding of the intermediate gym classes.

School Business Administrator Bill Doering estimates the cost to repair the Bubble could come in around $800,000. However, the district’s insurance deductible is $100,000.

Superintendent Frank Roselli said that after he, Doering and other officials met with FEMA on Nov. 21, he came away assured that the district would only be paying for 75 percent of that, or $25,000.

“We are responsible for 25,000 of that regardless of the cost,” said Board President Ed Gearity.

Mike L December 10, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I just have one question.....How did the Bubble originally and now reopening get a CO from the Township.....it doesn't even have facilities, and if you think Porta Potties are the answer than someone who approved the opening and reopening should be fired. They have set a president that any structure only needs a Porta Pottie to open. Boy has the Township lowered its standards
WhitingBoy December 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
@ JD…you are comparing a building to a financial investment? This is a structure. It is one of only a few structures in Ocean County that was built for a purpose that generates revenue. Compare it to other structures; such as a school building or a library…they are good investments that produce non-financial results. This is a structure that produces similar non-financial results, but has the added benefit of also producing revenue. Your analogy doesn't make any sense.
JD December 10, 2012 at 03:51 PM
It makes sense... The bubble was built to "make money"... to reduce tax burden. So, what is the "minimum profit" it should make!! If TRRS needed more "gym" space... they could have built an auxilary gym for $500K!! You don't build an indoor track at $2.7million because you need more "gym space".. duh!
grace December 10, 2012 at 06:06 PM
the arena and bubble are cash only...so as before at the ritacco center maybe we should look at who takes that cash and where it really goes...only because the same guy heads both and did back in the ritacco day also...rumor has it suicide was over that cash and no news relating to it in papers etc...thats because of chief of police and his relationship to ritacco...wow he had some hold on this town
Mac December 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Is it true that our sheriff went down with the bubble after his setup of the county emergency management communications headquarters for Hurricane Sandy inside the bubble? It sure would explain why he has been missing in action for the past several weeks. Since the position of county sheriff seems to have little to do with running the sheriff’s department, perhaps we should retire the county sheriff's position in honor of our current sheriff when, or if, he retires or leaves the job. It would be in the spirit of a sports team retiring the number of a valuable team player at the end of the player's career. It could even be chalked up to the bubble creating another $200K income savings annually. Now that's building team spirit.

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