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South Orange Village Breaks Ground on Baird Community Center


The Village of South Orange recently celebrated breaking ground on renovations to the Baird Community Center, a Shapiro CM construction management project since 2019.

Members of the Board of Trustees, Village President Sheena Collum and ShapiroCM's Jay Shapiro, Arne Aakre, Robert Chandler and Jose Cardenas gathered Sept. 21 for the ceremony and then toured the project, which is expected to be completed in 2022.

The original structure of the South Orange Village Baird Community Center was constructed in 1895. Additions were added in 1930 and in 1973.

The project scope includes the renovation of all existing rooms and porches, replacing the existing roof and adding on a new multi-purpose field house gymnasium.

In addition to the field house, arts classrooms will integrate with an art gallery on the first floor. New dance classrooms will be more accessible to children and parents. Numerous multi-purpose spaces will provide valuable community meeting rooms, as well as space for recreation classes and programs for all ages. A performance and large meeting space on the third floor will support all types of recitals, ensembles and performances.

Building improvements include making the building 100% ADA accessible, new heating and air conditioning, additional restrooms, new elevators, restoring the second-floor porch and additional outdoor space for gatherings and events. The exterior of the building will be rehabilitated with a new roof, siding, windows and doors that will make the building more energy efficient and will rejuvenate the Baird’s appearance.

The coming months will see great changes in the look of the building and site as steel will rise for the additions and exterior improvements will start to unfold. By December 2022, the newly renovated and expanded South Orange Village Baird Community Center will provide the community with a center for a revitalized cultural centerpiece.