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Gorham High School Building Project » Gorham High School Building Project

Gorham High School Building Project

This page continues to be under construction... Please be patient as new content is added!
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.
3.  Safety.  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.
On March 12, 2019 the GHS Building Committee was presented by Harriman with an INITIAL estimate for this project of $97 million dollars.  It was agreed by the GHS Building Committee, the Gorham School Committee, and the Gorham Town Council that this number was not a reasonable number to consider moving forward with.  After several meetings, the Gorham Town Council and Gorham School Committee agreed to initiate a two-pronged approach to move forward with this important work:
1.  The GHS Building Committee will continue to work with Harriman Associates to rework the initial concept designs for the building, reduce the scope of work, and try to find the "lowest" possible cost estimate that still meets the priority needs that must be addressed, and that still meets the educational needs of our students now and well into the future.
2.  The GHS Building Committee, Gorham School Committee, and Administrative team will work to continue to share information with the public and gather ideas from the public regarding potential other creative solutions to the problems identified above.  The Superintendent will collect these ideas and develop a list of 5-6 themes that come forward as a result of this public outreach for possible ways to move forward.
The two processes outlined above will continue through April, May, and June, 2019 and the intent is to schedule a joint meeting between the GHS Building Committee, Gorham School Committee, and the Gorham Town Council sometime in mid to late June, 2019 to present the results of this work and to discuss how best to move forward.  
There is no doubt that we must do something within the next few years to address the needs listed above, but the GHS Building Committee, Gorham School Committee and Gorham Town Council are taking the time necessary to ensure that whatever is done is the best possible solution balancing all of our community's needs.  
If you have a creative idea regarding how best to address the needs listed above, please feel free to email superintendent Perry at heather.perry@gorhamschools.org and she can make sure your ideas are added to our feedback collection process.
If you'd like to view the results of our March THOUGHT EXCHANGE survey, please CLICK HERE.  We will be doing more of these surveys as the project progresses.
Athletic Capital Campaign
In March, the Athletic Capital Campaign Committee met with Harriman to review our initial estimate for the athletic field work that will be funded separately through our "Gorham Pride" capital campaign.  The initial estimate was also a little high, but the group has now narrowed the scope of that work also down to approximately $7 million dollars.  
With the recent announcement of the initial cost estimate for the GHS building, the campaign committee members decided to delay the "hard launch" of our capital campaign for the fields until summer/early fall, 2019.  Therefore, the work on the campaign will continue "behind the scenes" with our "soft launch" work as we prepare for a "hard launch" of the "Gorham Pride" campaign later this summer/fall.
At this time then, our overall timeline for moving forward looks like this:
-  March - June, 2019 - GHS Building Committee adjusts the concept designs based upon pubic feedback, cost estimates, and works to identify the lowest possible design that still meets the long term needs of our students.  At the same time, Superintendent Perry will be launching community meetings to share information and gather feedback/ideas.
-  Early May, 2019 - Results of Latest "Thought Exchange" survey posted and shared with the Community.
-  Late May/Early June, 2019 - Public Forum #3 will be held to share updated information and continue to collect feedback/ideas from the community.
-  Mid/Late June, 2019 - GHS Building Committee, Gorham School Committee and Gorham Town Council meet jointly to review information gathered and determine next steps to move forward.
-  August/September, 2019 - "Gorham Pride" Capital Campaign for athletic field additions is launched.