Baird Community Center

Project Summary

Plans are moving forward for the complete renovation of the Baird Community Center on Mead Street.  

In early 2018, the Village retained the services of the Biber Partnership as the project architect, tasked with completing design plans and construction specification documents. Over a period of 12-18 months, the architects met regularly with key members of the Recreation & Cultural Affairs Committee, including Trustees Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Walter Clarke and Steve Schnall, along with Department staff. Many public meetings were held to gather additional input from residents, community groups and organizations.  

Preliminary plans were presented at a Board of Trustee meeting on March 25, 2019; revised and nearly complete plans were presented again to the public on September 9.  These plans are currently under review by Village safety and code officials to ensure they meet all of the necessary requirements and a project manager, Jay Shapiro and Associates, was recently retained.  The final set of construction documents are expected to be complete in December and the project will be put out for public bid in January, 2020 for a period of 60 days. Proposals will be reviewed by Village officials, the project manager and architect and the project will be awarded.    

The planned improvements of the Baird will include roof replacement, repairs and restoration of the building exterior, including the replacement of the 2nd story porch, and a complete renovation of the community center interior. The “new” building will include a beautiful community space and café that leads out to the porch, dance and fitness spaces, dedicated art rooms, a multi-purpose performance space and a public meeting space. The Pierro Gallery will be housed on the first level in the renovated building. Finally, there will be a two-story field house addition that will include a garage and storage on the ground level and a gymnasium and event space on the 2nd floor.  

The Baird Community Center will be closed for the duration of the renovation and reconstruction, which is anticipated to take approximately 2 years. The building closure will impact adjacent and related recreation facilities as follows:

  • Basketball Courts:  The basketball courts adjacent to the Baird will remain accessible only until the construction begins. The courts will fall inside the fenced in area defining the construction zone. 

  • The platform courts will be removed from the 5 Mead Street location.  It has been determined that these courts cannot be salvaged. The Village plans to include new paddle tennis courts in a future project located in an alternate location.

  • The batting cages located in the garage behind the Baird will be closed. The garage will be demolished as part of the project. The site will be the location of the new field house addition to the building. 

  • Tennis Courts: The tennis courts are not expected to be impacted by the construction project.

  • Park and Ballfields: These areas are not expected to be directly impacted by the construction project. It is possible that baseball/softball diamond #1 will be out of play during part of the project. Portable toilets will need to take the place of the public facilities previously accessible at the Baird. Parking may also be effected during certain phases of the project.

The offices of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs and the South Orange Parking Authority have relocated to 298 Walton Avenue, South Orange, near Farrell Field and the Department of Public Works. 

While we regret the inconvenience this renovation will cause our residents and patrons, we are very excited about the prospect of a new and fabulous Recreation and Cultural Arts Center that will serve our community well for many years into the future.

Click HERE for the most recent presentation and drawings.

Schedule & Updates

Subject to change, last revision 3/25/2019

TaskDate
Phase One (Pre Design)July 2018
Phase Two (Design Development)January 2019
Construction Documents May 2019
Public BiddingJune 2019
ConstructionSeptember 2019
Project Completion May 2021

Project Manager / Contact 

Peter Travers, Deputy Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs
Recreation and Cultural Affairs
(973) 378-7715 Ext. 2322

Related Documents