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Toms River Schools to Replace or Repair Bennett 'Bubble'?

Repairs estimated at $300-400,000.

Toms River Regional will hold a special meeting today to approve the repair of the Bennett Athletic Center, which ripped and flattened in Hurricane Sandy.

Discussion on whether to repair or replace the "bubble," which was both rented out for sporting tournaments such as winter track meets and used daily by the district as the gymnasium space for Intermediate East, ensued at the November school board meeting.

Residents as well as school board members and officials debated whether the Bennett Bubble should be fixed, replaced or even rebuilt as a brick building, but Toms River Regional Schools Business Administrator Bill Doering said it was paramount to make a decision as soon as possible since the school was without its regular gym space.

Doering said the Bennett center is used by Intermediate East students daily for gym classes, but that the district also is hoping to have the structure fixed because multiple indoor track meets are scheduled for the winter track season, which starts in December. The district wants to honor those contracts, as renting out the Bennett complex is a source of income for the district.

However, residents and board members debated whether repair was the best option. The life span of the fabric that makes up the air structure is 15 years. Board member Alex Pavliv questioned the profitability of the Bennett Center, while residents called for a more detailed look at whether having the site was worth it or whether a brick building would be forth the cost considering it would appreciate as real estate, instead of depreciate from obsolete materials after 15 years.

Doering said the cost to repair the Bubble would be $300,000-400,000, while replacing it could run $800,000 approximately. A completely new building could require a referendum vote, put before voters on a special election day.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Toms River High School North.

Pavlivdogs November 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I WAS at the last mtg. Carol stated she wanted to have a mtg so she could ask questions about the bubble. It has been a thorn in her side from the start mainly cause it wasn't built when her son ran track Get a life & get over the stupid issues
Bonefish November 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM
If I recall, there was a vote on the bubble and it was decided by voters NO. Then the next day it goes up. Somehow the rest of us made it through life with just a gym and field outside. If the income exceeds expenses then rebuild it. If it costs money, remove it.
Steve Domanski November 26, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I GOT IT.....put it in the ocean next to the rollercoaster !!!
Sandra November 26, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Sorry, the deductable is not even worth the repair. It is low on the priority list unfortunately. Remove it. Was ugly anyway.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) November 26, 2012 at 07:31 PM
No I am not saying that.
jackie pascual November 26, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Isnt this structure the same as the structure that came down at the Dallas Cowboys stadium? Which Also came down in a wind storm of 55-65 mph? Seems if it could come down once, it could do it again. Imagine if there where children in it?!! Not to mention it was an eye sore and the kids hated it, at least all mine did. I say build a brick building. The district would earn the same in revenue, if not more. The bubble was hardly a professional looking building. If you want to make up the difference, you could always rent out for other community functions. Just my opinion.
jackie pascual November 26, 2012 at 08:37 PM
@east gym teacher....the kids HATE gym class in the bubble. Ask them! Besides..... There should be a corridor at the very least, so they dont have to walk outside before and after class....and that stupid heavy revolving door in which my kid got his leg caught, and cost a trip to the ER. REMOVE IT!
Seriously? November 26, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The pressurized air inside the bubble caused some children to develop breathing problems. I know -- my child was one of them, and had to take gym in the regular gym under a doctor's note. In any event, when my kids were at IE they were outside on the fields for gym most of the year anyway. And, there's no reason why they can't use the winter marking period for a health class for some of the students as they do in high school if they don't already. That monstrosity would never have been constructed if it had been put on a ballot as a referendum; instead, this was just another one of Ritacco's scams in order to line his pockets. As it was, he tried to get the Schools Construction Corp. to pay for it until they informed him that there was no money for such a project and the taxpayers had to foot the entire bill. The whole thing should be shut down and tossed in the garbage heap.
Seriously? November 26, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Well, if you're a "parent" of a kid from IE then you'll have a bit of patience regarding gym classes until they get into high school, right? It's only a couple of years? Oh, wait -- I get it -- you're a -- TRACK PARENT!!! That means that you need to -- must I say it -- DRIVE YOUR KIDS TO MEETS AND PRACTICES!!! OH THE HORROR!!! Guess what -- the majority of us don't have kids in track, or sports, or even in school anymore. I personally am a bit tired of hearing the "for the kids" crap, and no, I'm not moving out of town because I don't like it. Either suck it up and drive your kids, or make them do a more local sport. I hear there's a new softball field across town that my tax dollars also paid for -- use that.
Ken November 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Just get rid of it I do not want of my tax dollars spent to fix it, replace it or put up a new building. I agree with a lot of people this is not b=needed for gym. Go outside and in the colder weather take health if you think t is so over crowded. As far as track it is not making money and if Toms River students are on track let them travel just like other sports teams travel.
Joan November 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Does everyone know that the bubble is a cash business, no registers? Told there was no place to put any more electric. So where does this cash go? How is inventory kept? As far as cleanliness, the fans in there were disgustingly dirty.
deathpenaltyforcopkillers November 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM
@Seriously, Are you serious ? The pressurized air inside the bubble ? Comon' you can't be that naive. The Air is trapped between an inner an outer membrane and can no way cause breathing problems for anyone. That's like saying your kid can't have balloons at his birthday party because the pressurized air in the balloons cause breathing problems. That's why they call it a bubble.
grace November 26, 2012 at 10:56 PM
did they ever put bathrooms in that thing @eastgym teacher?
JD November 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Not exactly true.... TRRS rents the facility... gets say $5000 per event. The Event Director charges the schools a fee... typically $500 for boys and girls teams... and charges an admission fee. The admission fee is cash but that goes to the Event Director. Many events are run by NJSIAA. The cash portion for TRRS... is the refreshment stand... and we know who runs that... Ritacco former girlfriend... who also runs 1144 cafe... and Pinebelt arena refreshment stand.
JD November 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM
It can get stuffy in there when there is a large event... lots of hot air... CO2... Depends on how good the air circulation system is...
JD November 26, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Let me add... TRRS does not HOST any track events... just rents it out for someone else to host and run the event.
Pavlivdogs November 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM
JD is all that hot air from u? Frankly I'm sick of ur self confirmed expertise on all subjects large & small. Pretty sure I'm not alone on that. Too bad all ur knowledge hasn't helped u get a job.
grace November 27, 2012 at 12:01 AM
wow another cash only business with tr schools.not surprised remember the ritacco center
JD November 27, 2012 at 12:08 AM
dogs... your alone... You just don't like facing the facts... Thanks for the complement... how many times do I need to tell you that I'm an expert at most subjects...
Pavlivdogs November 27, 2012 at 12:30 AM
JD ur an expert in ur own own delusional mind. this blog was the best thing that ever happened to u prior to this no one would listen. Remember just cause its on a news forum doesn't make it a fact....well there is 1 exception. It is a FACT that ur an unemployable blowhard
Donna Griffin November 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Just as the mayor of SSH wants to keep the collapsed wreckage of the roller coaster right where it is as a memorial of Superstorm Sandy, perhaps we should do the same with the Bubble to commemorate the disaster known as Michael Ritacco?!?!
fed up November 27, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Roll it up and throw it out! Looks like an ugly airplane hanger next to a school. And thats exactly what it is. Let these fat, lazy, rude,spoiled rotten,video game playing,texting,disrespectful, antisocial,asthmatic,peanut allergic little wussies go outside for gym and get some fresh air and exercise like it has been done for thousands of years. Bring back dodge ball, and stop giving these kids trophies for doing absolutely nothing but showing up for the game. so ridiculous!!! Does anyone remember being a kid or not. It definitely was not like this thats for sure. Man up you little $h!t$. no balloons, johnny is alergic to latex. What the hell is a peanut table? does everyone have their purell bottle? no wonder why all these kids get sick so often. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
Seriously? November 27, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Tell that to my kid, you jerk, who would go in there to take gym, run a few steps and start to wheeze and end up in the nurse's office. My kid liked gym too. Our family doctor, who at one time was one of the school district pediatricians, told us that the pressurized air inside the bubble has caused breathing problems in more than one kid in Toms River. Count how many track kids walking around with inhalers at meets. Christ, the man is locked up and they STILL worship his backside!!!
Seriously? November 27, 2012 at 02:21 AM
You know where the cash went -- everyone on this comment section knows where the cash went. That's why that Bubble should never be rebuilt. Unfortunately as I write this, it will be rebuilt, and the same, corrupt, cash-only operation will be in place.
Seriously? November 27, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Pavlivdogs, you spend an inordinate amount of time singing the praises of the school district and everything Ritacco. Frankly, I really don't care, as my kids are out, graduated, and in very good colleges (no thanks to most of the teachers in your union). However, when it comes to that bubble and the health issues of my child, I know what I am talking about. Maybe if they put that monstrosity back in place they'll put in a better ventilation system so the same thing that happened to my child won't happen to other children.
Mike L November 27, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Hi, I understand that we should do as much as we can for the kids, but these are trying times. If you believe that this is a necessary facility then why didn't we build a bricks and mortar building in the past? As far as it being a rental property, WHO do we rent it to, OURSELVES, the use of the building is charged to the schools using it, OUR SCHOOLS, do you think that a building with outside "portapotties" would be used by any outside official track meets. It's for intermural use most of the times.....The Administration uses the talking points that the bubble makes money, we are charging ourselves in the schools budget. If you think I am wrong, look at all the groups clambering to get into the "Center" at Toms River North. Another charge ourselves building..........Where did Mr Doering get these figures from, he's no engineer and as far as I remember it takes week to get studies done. Let's get second , third opinion before anything is done....for the love of the children.
grace November 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM
whats wrong with the board voting that in again i dont get it
charlotte November 29, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Ridiculous to think of rebuilding the bubble when you have a 20% loss of tax base and thousands of township residents that are displaced from their homes. It sounds like the mainland doesn't want to be bothered with the barrier island folks - only looking for "what is in it for them". It would be a win-win to form a new barrier island community or join an existing. Comments seem heartless but telling of our culture.
charlotte November 29, 2012 at 01:19 AM
So many of the kids are so over scheduled with sports they shouldn't have to take gym in school. There should be an opt out for kids that are already involved in ample physical exercise through the extensive professional children's sports networks that are present in our community.
sms23 December 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
@fed up - not quite as "politically correct" as I might put it, but I agree with the sentiment. Outdoors is a huge, free gymnasium. Use it.

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