Most Ewing residents are aware that there is a strong shared services relationship between the school district and township government.
This beneficial relationship is evident in many ways that make life better for Ewing community members, including providing facilities for recreational programming, shared projects and personnel, and money-saving initiatives.
This rewarding affiliation was again on display earlier this year, as the new playground at the O’Brien Academy, the school district’s innovative alternative education setting, was opened. This playground was made possible by a contribution to the school district by Mayor Bert Steinmann from the township’s PILOT funds.
But there is a testament to this shared services relationship that many people in Ewing may not even realize or recognize-the multi-use capability of the Gusz Building, located on the edge of the township’s border with Lawrence on Ewingville Road.
Many school district parents make an initial visit to the Gusz building, as the facility is home to registration, but upon departing may never return again, and perhaps do not realize the growth, evolution and many uses of the site.
The building was initially a winding factory, until it was acquired by the Board of Education in the late 1970s.
It immediately became the home of the district’s facility and maintenance staff and food service department. Over the years, it has evolved to also house the technology and special services department, indeed with a revitalized server room at Gusz, it is the technological epicenter of the district.
Harry Louth, the district’s Director of Operations, Special Services and Grant Management, serves as the site administrator at Gusz, a title that has earned him an affectionate nickname as the “Duke of Gusz.”
“We have a hard-working team at Gusz,” Louth stated. “We may be a bit off the radar, but it is a building dedicated to serving the needs of the school community.”
Earlier this decade, there was a development with Gusz that characterized the beneficial shared services agreement between the school district and the Ewing township government. The township shut down one of their facilities on 4th Street, and moved equipment and supplies over to Gusz.
“This was a very beneficial development,” Township Administrator Jim McManimon commented. “It enabled us to save a considerable amount of money, and the Gusz site is a much better, far more advantageous location for us.”
Each year, the township has made a contribution from PILOT funds to the school district. Last year, those funds went towards the desired playground at the O’Brien Academy. This year, those funds will go towards much-needed improvements at the Gusz Building.
“We all believe that what our community members want to see is the township and school district working together,” Mr. Louth stated. “The Gusz Building is another excellent example of that here in Ewing, and we are appreciative of the support of the township in making it even better.”