School Committee and Town Council consider collaborative effort to address capital needs

posted Oct 2, 2017, 11:33 AM by Andrew Dolloff

On Tuesday, September 26, the School Committee met with the Yarmouth Town Council to discuss proposed solutions to the School Department’s facilities challenges.  To meet programmatic, enrollment, and structural needs, the School Committee is proposing a conceptual plan developed by the Facilities Assessment Committee working in conjunction with Harriman, an architectural/engineering firm well-known throughout New England for school planning and design.  The plan calls for the following:

  • ·        Expansion of Rowe School to accommodate enrollment growth in Kindergarten and Grade 1 and provide for the addition of Pre-Kindergarten programming.
  • ·        Expansion and complete renovation of Yarmouth Elementary School to accommodate enrollment growth, upgrade building systems, and provide for the relocation of Grade 5 from Harrison Middle School to Y.E.S.
  • ·        Minor interior work at Harrison Middle School, relocating the choral room from its current location on the stage in the cafeteria to a classroom space that will be made possible by moving Grade 5 to Y.E.S.  Reducing H.M.S. enrollment to three grades (6-8) will allow for the removal of portable classrooms and result in a facility capacity that is higher than its enrollment at minimal cost and disruption to the school.
  • ·        Expansion of Yarmouth High School to accommodate enrollment growth.  Additional classrooms, larger cafeteria, relocation of the exercise room, and creation of an additional music room are the key components of this plan.
  • ·        At each school, additional consideration is being given to exterior components, including parking, traffic patterns, and recreational spaces.

The projected cost of this project is $32 million, whereas other options considered were estimated to cost as much as $48 million.  The School Committee believes this plan will meet the School Department’s needs as they are projected through 2027 and beyond while remaining sensitive to the local taxpayers, on whom the cost of this project will fall. 

In discussion with the Town Council, it became clear that the Town has upcoming capital needs, as well.  There is a group in town actively seeking the development of a community center, and several municipal departments (Community Services, Public Safety, etc.) are in need of larger or renovated spaces.  With that in mind, the School Committee and Town Council entered into discussion of how the two entities may work together to provide the best facilities for the entire town in the most effective and cost-efficient manner.  As a result of that conversation, the School Committee is exploring an alternative option to address its facilities needs that would include the following:

  • ·        Re-purposing of the Rowe School facility for community/municipal use, to be determined by the Town Council.
  • ·        Expansion and complete renovation of Yarmouth Elementary School to accommodate enrollment growth, upgrade building systems, and provide for a Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 population, with two schools operating as somewhat separate entities in one physical plant.
  • ·        Construction at Harrison Middle School and Yarmouth High School as described above.

As the study of this concept is in its initial stages, there is no cost projection at this time.  A great deal of work will be done to determine the environmental, traffic, educational, and financial impacts – work that will be completed in the coming months.

Because of the commitment to present the best possible plan to the community, the original timeline of public forums beginning in late October will be delayed a few months, and these groups will work diligently to bring a comprehensive plan to the public in early 2018.  Please stay tuned to this site for updates.  We look forward to completing our work and hearing your thoughts as the school year progresses.