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The Newmarket School District has a rich educational history. To advance our District and to make new history, we need to make some upgrades to our school facilities.
In March of 2014, the residents of Newmarket, NH had the opportunity to vote on a bond issue for a new Junior/Senior High School. The community was divided over the proposed facility. Following the vote, the chairpersons of the School Board and Town Council requested assistance from independent consultants with the intent “to conduct a review and examination of existing data that has been collected regarding the facility at Newmarket Junior/Senior High School; to review the various options that exist to resolve facilities issues; and to provide guidance and recommended next steps.” The options under consideration included:
A Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) was formed to work in collaboration with the consultant team in order to guide the project activities, to provide advice on consultancy activities and to augment the work being conducted. The committee is composed of the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the School Board and Town Council, three Newmarket citizens and Newmarket’s Building Code Officer.
The consultants were charged by the School Board, the Town Council and the Advisory Committee to engage in a transparent, public, and objective review of each of the facility options. As a result, Joint Advisory Committee meetings were held in public session and televised; a website was established where meeting announcements, agendas and minutes are posted; and all materials presented to the Joint Advisory Committee have been made available to the citizens of Newmarket. A final report from the Joint Advisory Committee was presented in April of 2015.
After the JAC report in April of 2015, the School Board determined that tuitioning Newmarket students to another district was not a viable option. Public sentiment made it clear that residents wished to keep their children in the community to receive their education, and no districts within a reasonable proximity were interested in accepting the students from Newmarket.
The School Board subsequently established a Facilities Committee to explore the needs and to develop options to present to the School Board for consideration. That committee has been working since September of 2015 to review educational specifications and needs, including a report from Dr. Mark Joyce/NHSAA received in October of 2015, and to examine data regarding the existing buildings and sites owned by the school district. In April of 2016, the committee recommended the hiring of Banwell Architects to the School Board and, in the summer of 2016, the committee recommended the hiring of Eckman Construction to serve as the construction manager for the prospective projects.
The facilities committee has narrowed the recommendations to a single option for an addition and renovation to the Newmarket Elementary school and to an addition and renovation to the Jr./Sr. High School. There will be a public forum on December 8th to present and discuss these options.