2020 – The Gramon School

When past President of the NJLCA, Tom Canete proposed a service project at the school his son Jake attends, how could the Service Project Committee say “no”?  You see, Tom and his crews have assisted on every service project we have completed in the past ten years and anyone who knows his family knows how much they give back to their community and friends.

As Tom explained it, the playground at The Gramon School in Fairfield, NJ was having severe drainage issues, which caused large pools of water to form where the grass met the pavement, making both areas unusable for the students to play on during recess after a rainy day.  In addition, the school was looking to upgrade the property and install a greenhouse, re-mulch their playground equipment area and repair an uneven field.  They were also planning to install a few umbrellas and tables on an unused area of the field.

In typical NJLCA fashion, our “Day of Service” turned into several “DayS of Service”, but the project was entirely worthwhile.

13 companies volunteered and 21 companies donated material and equipment to complete this project, which is an estimated $90-100,000 project with time and materials.

Several major sections were completed, with Tom Canete and Dave Dacosta overseeing the project (and providing comic relief)!  Paul Hewitt oversaw most of the drainage work as well.

Section 1: Revision of Drainage – Nearly 500 ft. of 8″ reduced to 4″ SDR drainpipe was installed from the side of and along the entire back of the playground to two 18” x 18” concrete catch basins with cast iron framing grates.  Upon excavation for the drainage, they encountered a 12″ thick existing catch basin, which had to be hammer-drilled through to get to the other side.  The deepest section excavated was over 8′ deep!

Section 2: Area for Outdoor Classes and Eating – Volunteers installed a 1,000 sq. ft. patio with three shade trees (October Glory) where the school could place outdoor furniture (the patio was a surprise to the school).  Pavers used were Cambridge Ledgestone 16 x 24 Smooth Sahara Chestnut. Several companies, including Exclusive Stoneworks and Wayne Jepsen Landscaping installed the patio over two days, including excavation, grading, prepping, installation, cutting and sweeping sand.

Section 3: Greenhouse – Grading and prep for a cement pad for the greenhouse was installed and the final part of the project completed was the greenhouse itself (a 16’ x 20’ wheelchair accessible greenhouse) in November.

Section 4:  Raised garden beds – When we first arrived, we didn’t even know there were beds in there!  Volunteers did a massive cleanup of a large, fenced area that had previously been used as raised beds.

Section 5:  Two playground areas – Re-mulched using 100 yards of playground mulch.

Section 6: Field – The entire playing field was regraded to remove low spots by relocating and adding topsoil.  The 14,000 sq. ft. was then hydroseeded, which includes grass seed, hydro mulch and fertilizer.

Section 7: Asphalt – To complete fixing the drainage issues, 2200 square feet of asphalt was laid to refinish and extend the area where the basketball hoops are.

Volunteers included: Bergen Community College Horticulture Dept. Chair, Canete Landscape, CK Paving, Exclusive Stoneworks, Green Meadows Landscape, Hewitt Landscape, Horizon Landscape, Kindergan Landscaping, VIP Landscape, Wayne Jepsen Landscape, Wayne Wholesale Fertilizer, Yellow Wagon Landscaping.

Donors included:  Al D. Landscape Supply, All Service Equipment, B & B Organic Recycling, Bergen Siteworks, Bobcat of North Jersey, Braen Supply, Cambridge Pavingstones, Canete Garden Center, Dan Como & Sons, Downes Forest Products, Michells, Morris Brick and Stone, NJLCA, Peerless Concrete, RER Supply, SiteOne Landscape Supply and Synatek Solutions.

The Gramon School was extremely appreciative of the project and excited that their students can once again learn and play outdoors.  The NJLCA is very thankful to all the volunteers and donors for their assistance in making this project a reality.   In this season of giving, have a wonderful holiday everyone!