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What NEEDS Will This Project Address?
1. Overcrowding. The current GHS building was last renovated in the early 1990's. The building was constructed at that time for 750 students with just under 600 students attending. Currently we have 868 students in the building (with 6 portable classrooms). By 2028-2029 the GHS student population is projected to be 975 students.
2. Undersized Instructional Spaces and 21st Century Programmatic Needs.
Most classrooms at GHS are currently between 500-717 square feet. Current MDOE guidelines are for classrooms of 800 square feet to meet the needs of our 21st century
learners. Additionally, with increasing student populations we are short specific classrooms for specific content areas. For example, we will need a 2nd gym to house almost 1000 students due to the need to operate 3-4 PE classrooms. Another example is that we would need an additional 2 science classrooms in order
to meet the needs of almost 1000 students.
Currently our administrative offices are located on the opposite side of the building as the main public entrance. This makes it very difficult to control
the safe flow of visitors in and out of our buildings each day. Additionally, we have students traveling outside of the main building to six portable classroom spaces which make controlling access
to the building even more difficult.
4. Undersized Cafeteria. Our current seating capacity is 216 students per lunch. We offer 3 lunches which means we can effectively seat 648 students. Our total student population is currently 868 students. Many of our students currently sit on the floor in the lobby or hallway areas to eat their lunches. This is not sanitary and it is not conducive to learning.
5. Mechanical Systems.
Mechanical systems were last upgraded in the early 90's with the last renovation. This was 25+ years ago. Many of our systems either have already or soon will reach the end of their useful life. Our most recent numbers show us that it costs us approximately $1.25/square foot to operate GHS. As a comparison, Great Falls Elementary School costs us $1.03 to operate and the GF building allows for year-round climate control.
6. Inadequate Parking. Currently, we have a total of 278 parking spaces on the GHS campus. With over 100 staff and 868 students, this simply is not enough. MDOE guidelines would allow for a school of our size to have between 400-500 parking spots. The proposal we are currently working with would provide for 473 total parking spaces, an increase of almost 200 spots.
7. Undersized Nursing Clinic. Our current clinic is too small and does not allow for the privacy needed for a clinic to effectively operate. NEASC accreditation has been clear that if we do not address our undersized nursing clinic space for students we will be placed on warning status for our accreditation.
8. Lack of Storage.
Because of our over enrollment, we have had to convert
storage spaces into classroom spaces and therefore, we do not have adequate storage space. We currently outdoor trailer beds to store items that range from drama productions equipment
to track and field equipment
and everything in between.
9. Overused and outdated Athletic Fields.
GHS currently operates 2.5 competition fields on site. MDOE guidelines would allow for 6-8 grass fields for similar sized high school populations. Our fields are overused and are therefore difficult to maintain in appropriate playing condition. Additionally, our outdoor lighting is outdated. Current lighting is on wooden polls that have twisted and turned over 25+ years to the point that lights may no longer be pointing in the direction
they need to be. Some wooden polls had to be removed last year due to rot and pest infestation. Current lighting is not efficient.
NEXT STEPS AND HOW YOU CAN BE INVOLVED:
In January, 2020 the School Committee and Town Council met jointly to discuss next steps in the GHS building project. At this meeting, the two boards agreed via consensus that they would NOT bring forward the "Option 6" proposal at this time due to the impacts on local taxpayers to locally fund the proposed $72 million dollar project.
The two boards agreed that the capital needs of our school facilities are not going away, but that it would be in our community's best interest to take one more "step back" and to work with a contracting firm to do a comprehensive study of all town facilities' needs moving forward in order to develop a plan for how to address them more holistically.
It was agreed that there is no question that significant investment in school and town facilities is on our immediate horizon. It was also agreed that we need to make sure that we address these needs in as comprehensive a manner as possible in order to ensure we are able to balance these needs with the needs of our community who must support these costs.
The town's facilities committee and the school's facilities committee have agreed to meet jointly to develop an RFP for such a joint study to be conducted and for joint capital facilities plan to be created. Additionally, both committees will be meeting to suggest how to use a future bond to take care of several "smaller" capital needs for our schools while we continue to wrestle with the larger facilities needs associated with addressing our growing student populations.
Athletic Capital Campaign
The "Gorham Pride" Capital Campaign will be launched after we have a more solid plan for how to address the needs of Gorham High School. All the preliminary planning and other work has been completed so that once we have our future direction determined, this campaign can be launched in conjunction with those plans.
Please continue to check back in on this site to stay informed as to how this work continues to evolve. There is no question that something will need to be done to address our capital needs. Specifically what that "something" is and how best to fund it will be the focus of our continued discussions as a community.