The following list of questions have been raised by Newmarket residents and brought to the attention of the Facilities Committee. Our team has done its best to comprehensively address the questions and concerns of our community about the school upgrades with this list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Should you want to provide feedback about the website or have additional questions that have not been addressed here, please contact the Newmarket Superintendent, Meredith Nadeau.
Why is this necessary?
Our buildings have many significant needs. The elementary school is 30 years old and does not have adequate space to house the existing student population nor meet core needs with respect to spaces such as the administrative area, cafeteria, and gymnasium. In addition, most systems are at the end of their useful life and are in need of replacement. The Jr./Sr. High School was originally constructed in 1924 and despite additions and some life safety issues being addressed is also undersized for current program needs and the existing student population.
At the Jr./Sr. High School we are looking to address the following needs:
- Increased classroom space, specifically in middle school science and music
- Larger intervention and support areas for all students
- Bringing the Art classroom back onto the campus (currently across the street on the Carpenter property)
- More secure main entrance into the building
- Larger kitchen space and updated equipment
- “Vintage” mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and replacement of existing boiler plant
- Lack of storage
- Updated multimedia services
- Undersized performing arts area
- More staff and student restrooms
- Creation of a maker/flex space
At the Elementary School we are looking to address the following needs:
- Undersized kitchen and cafeteria (currently running 6 lunch periods from 10:45 to 1:30)
- Undersized gymnasium
- Limited intervention spaces
- Bringing the portable classrooms into the building (four 5th grade classrooms and several intervention spaces)
- Traffic flow/safety and parking (expansion and repaving of surfaces, separation bus traffic from parent traffic)
- More secure main entrance into the building
- Lack of storage (equipment stored in the hallway and outdoor sheds)
- Mechanical systems at end of useful life
- Creation of a maker/flex space
What are the differences between this proposal and the 2014 proposal?
- The 2014 proposal did not include any work to be done at the Elementary School. The 2014 proposal was for a new junior-senior high school. The school district is working with a different architectural firm and has brought a construction management firm on board to assist in developing cost estimates for the proposals under consideration. A facilities committee has been meeting regularly over the last year to identify issues, review information, and keep the community informed.
- The 2014 proposal for the high school contained approximately 30,000 more square feet of space than the current proposal including an additional science classroom, art classroom, 2 computer labs and locker pod areas, and an auditorium. The current analysis concluded that 4 science classrooms and 2 art classrooms would be adequate for the projected enrollment. Lockers will be located throughout the building rather than in large common areas, and, as most computing now occurs on portable devices, dedicated space for computer labs is no longer necessary.
Why is the cost estimate for the current proposal different than the 2014 proposal?
- There are many factors that cause the cost estimate to change from year to year. Those factors include external review through the Joyce report and the JAC report, updated needs analysis conducted through the development of educational specifications, escalating costs of materials, a reduction in the proposed square footage of the building, cost differences in building new vs renovating, civil engineer review, and different architectural and site designs and layouts.
What does the proposed addition/renovation entail?
At the Jr./Sr. High School it includes the following:
- Flexible cafetorium to accommodate lunches as well as use as a school and community performance space
- Additional choral/general music classroom
- All science classrooms are sized and equipped appropriately
- All classrooms will be in one building
- Increased parking with utilization of parking across from the current campus
- Wellness classroom
- Dedicated middle school art classroom
- Flex/Maker Space
- Larger Kitchen with updated equipment
- Updated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems
At the Elementary School it includes the following:
- All classrooms are in one building
- Appropriately sized gymnasium
- Larger kitchen and cafeteria
- Updated mechanical systems
- Increased parking
- Safer access for parent and bus pick-up/drop off
- Larger nurse’s office with appropriate privacy/space
- More adequate space for occupational and physical therapy services
- Additional staff bathrooms
- Adequate storage space
- Small instructional spaces for intervention in reading and math
- Create instructional space for our instrumental program
- Office space for the assistant principal
- Intervention rooms
Why do you believe we can renovate the Jr./Sr. High when we were told that a new building was preferred in 2014?
- Some fire and life safety upgrades as well as updates required by the American with Disabilities Act have been completed in the last couple of years. Those updates along with additional review and examinations by architects, structural, and civil engineers have concluded that renovation of the existing building is possible.
- There were concerns about disrupting the sewer line which runs through the junior-senior high school driveway and behind the school in 2014. The committee and civil engineer have been working with local officials to better understand these issues and to identify cost-effective solutions.
How long will an addition/renovation take and how will it affect students?
- An addition/renovation at the elementary school is projected to last for 13 months (approx. June 2018 – July 2019–see phasing documents for additional information). Portables would be relocated on the school campus during the construction phase and would remain in use through the 2018-2019 school year. Renovation work within the existing building is expected to be limited to the summer months. Work on the additions would continue during the school year but would be separated from the school program via fencing and barriers to protect the safety of students and to minimize disruption to the educational program. Emergency access and egress will be maintained at all times during construction.
- An addition/renovation of the junior-senior high school is expected to begin in April of 2018 and continue through the winter of 2020 (see phasing documents for additional information). Access to portions of the building will be affected and some classrooms and programs would be relocated during the 2018-2019 and the first half of the 2019-2020 school year. We anticipate some use of portable classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year to help mitigate the disruptions to schedule and programming.
- Safety of students in an addition/renovation scenario would be paramount. School officials and a clerk of the works would meet weekly with the construction team to plan ahead for upcoming work in order to limit the impact on instruction. Emergency access and egress will be maintained at all times during construction.
Will both proposals serve the anticipated enrollment?
- Yes, both proposals will serve the anticipated enrollment. The facilities committee reviewed enrollment projections as a part of this process, and both buildings have been designed to serve a modestly larger core population of students than we are currently serving.
Are there hazardous materials in the Jr./Sr. High and how will it be addressed?
- Yes there is known asbestos remaining in portions of the Jr./Sr. High School. The asbestos will be abated in any renovation project. Monies are set aside for hazardous material studies and contingency funds would be utilized for abatement of any unknown hazardous materials which were discovered in a renovation. All abatement work will be completed by licensed professionals adhering to all applicable laws.
Will an addition/renovation be fully compliant with NHDOE standards, ADA and NEASC?
- The proposed design would be compliant with the American with Disabilities (ADA) Act and with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation standards. The proposed addition/renovation projects at both schools are designed to come close to the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) standards but waivers would be required for some classrooms which would remain slightly below DOE guidelines for square footage.
What opportunities for expansion are there in the new and addition/renovation proposals?
- All sites do have some capacity for future expansion. In the event of an addition/renovation at the jr/sr high school, the Carpenter property would remain available as an expansion site for both schools. Additions on the existing sites are possible, though the existing footprints and locations of utilities limit the space for horizontal expansion.
What is the difference in the life expectancy of a new building vs. that of a renovated building?
- Both designs are intended to serve the community for 50 years with appropriate maintenance and care.
What is the tax impact of the proposed project?
- The following is a table that shows the projected taxpayer impact on a $39M bond over 30 years. Visit the Costs page for more information on overall project costs.
Why is a cafetorium proposed versus an auditorium?
- A committee reviewed the current and projected usage of large performance spaces for the school and community. Based on that data, a cafetorium was determined to be a flexible, cost-effective option for large school and community events. Modern cafetoriums include appropriate lighting and acoustic design to make for a comfortable audience experience.
Will the proposals incorporate green designs?
- Yes, proposed projects at both schools incorporate sustainable designs.
What is the current status of project and next steps?
- After over 18 months of meetings and public input, the preliminary designs, phasing, and cost estimates are complete. If voters approve a bond in March 2017, Banwell will draft construction drawings over the summer/fall of 2017; Eckman will acccept bids during the winter; and construction will begin in Spring 2018. Key dates: 1/12/17 Bond Hearing, 7 P.M., NJSHS; 2/4/17 Deliberative Session, 10 A.M., NJSHS; 3/14/17, Voting Day, 7 A.M. to 7 P.M., NJSHS
Is it cheaper in the long run to build a new junior-senior high?
- The designs for the junior-senior high school are intended to be comparable in their useful life expediencies.
How can I stay informed about the project plans?
- Use this website, follow school board meetings, attend forums, attend/host a neighborhood meeting, or contact us directly with questions or to share your comments.
How much extra space is being added?
- The elementary school addition/renovation adds 22,693 square feet of additional space to the existing 55,898 sq. feet for a total of 78,591 sq. feet.
- The junior-senior high school addition/renovation adds 50,501 sq. feet to the existing 77,633 sq. feet for a total of 128,134 sq. feet.
What are the consequences if the bond is not approved?
- The school district has major infrastructure issues to address including replacement of the boiler and air handling units at both schools (and the construction of a new boiler plant at the junior-senior high school), electrical upgrades to remain equipped with appropriate 21st century technology access, hazardous material abatement, kitchen equipment replacement, repaving of the elementary school entryway and parking areas as well as expansion of the existing driveway to mitigate safety issues at drop-off and pick-up times among others. A complete list of capital improvement projects with associated costs is being finalized and will be posted in the coming weeks.
- Construction and bonding costs will likely continue to rise making future repairs more expensive.
What are the advantages to residents if the bond passes and construction takes place?
- Improved school facilities benefit everyone–students through their learning environment, property owners whose property value will likely rise, citizens who will be able to access a cafetorium performance space and full-sized elementary school gym for community use
What impact will construction have on the neighborhood and traffic?
- There will be limited impact to the neighborhoods and traffic patterns. The project options all improve traffic access in the long run by separating parent and bus traffic during peak times and by improving access to parking spaces.
Will there be one bond question?
- Yes, this is an integrated proposal to efficiently address common needs with sharing between both schools. Both schools have important issues to be addressed immediately and which must be addressed in all events. Problems will be come more costly if delayed; it is most efficient to address both projects at once; and one program should not be favored over the other.
How are we planning for potential unforeseen costs associated with renovation to the existing junior-senior high building?
- All building projects can have some unforeseen challenges, and budgets for the projects include contingency lines to address unforeseen challenges which could still arise.
- The architects and construction management team have been doing their best to minimize surprises through review of prior reports and analysis of the reports from structural, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers, as well as from meeting with local officials and facilities staff.