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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 August 13, 2019 the GHS Building Committee met with Harriman to review concept designs for a project that would greatly reduce costs from the original estimate yet still meet the programmatic needs of our students.  A design was shared that reduced overall costs by over $30 million dollars.  The new design also addresses concerns expressed by the public regarding the use of Robie Park and the possible closing of what is now known as "Access Road" by keeping Access Road open and by moving the new classroom wing addition to the Morrill Avenue side of the building.  
At this time, the GHS Building Committee feels as though it has done all it can to reduce costs for this project while still meeting the educational program needs of students and addressing the constraints of the current site.  You can view the most up to date concept designs either by CLICKING HERE or by tabbing over to the left side of this page.  
On September 25th, 2019 information regarding the most recent concept designs and implications regarding the project were presented to the Gorham School Committee.  You can view the slide presentation given to the School Committee by CLICKING HERE.  The Gorham School Committee discussed the project and asked for two things before considering how they'd like to move forward:
1.  A specific recommendation from the GHS Building Committee regarding which design option (of the ones reviewed) they would recommend to move forward with IF the School Committee wished to move in that direction.
2.  A specific list of anticipated large capital facilities needs anticipated for ALL SCHOOL FACILITIES within the next 10-15 years.  
The GHS Building Committee met on Oct. 22 and recommended (of the options discussed) to move forward with Option #6 which is what is linked above.  Facilities Director Norm Justice and Superintendent Perry are working to develop the list under #2 above.  This information will be presented to the School Committee at their November 20 workshop meeting.  At this time, the School Committee will determine next steps with the project.  Please stay tuned!
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
The "Gorham Pride" Capital Campaign will be launched after the new year in order to give the School Committee time to be clear in what they see as the direction for the larger GHS building project.  Although the athletic campaign can be launched and the work completed independently of the GHS building project, it makes sense for us to wait until we know what direction the School Committee is considering in this work before launching this campaign.  We will update the public on the campaign at the November 23rd Athletic Hall of Fame induction.  Then stay tuned for the "hard launch" in the new year.  
Please CLICK HERE to learn more about the "Gorham Pride" Athletic Capital Campaign, to see pictures of our vision and to understand more about how you can contribute to this important work for our children and for the community of Gorham!