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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!
Quick Points to Understand the NEED for this project:
*  GHS was last renovated in 1992.  At the time, the school was built to house 750 students.  We currently have 868 students in the building now - 118 more than it was constructed for.
*  Our Enrollment projections indicate that we will continue to grow in student population with our high school population scheduled to reach approximately 944 students by the year 2027-28.
*  Currently, our main entrance for students is located on the opposite side of the school as our administrative offices.  This creates a significant safety concern that we have worked hard to mitigate over the years, but one that must be more thoroughly dealt with by changing the physical plant for the long term.
*  Current classroom sizes in our building range between 500-717 square feet, while today's standards require classrooms of approximately 800 square feet in order to accommodate the type of learning required in today's schools.
*  The current cafeteria is far undersized for our students.  During our three lunch periods, students are forced to sit on benches in the hallway/lobby area, and unfortunately, often on the floor.
*  Mechanical systems at GHS are nearing the end of their useful life and many are inefficient compared to today's standards.  It currently costs $1.17/square foot to operate GHS while Great Falls Elementary School operates at $.91/square foot and that building is air-conditioned.
*  GHS currently operates 2.5 competition athletic fields compared to other comparable high schools in the state that operate between 6-8 grass fields (or utilize synthetic surfaces for fewer fields).
*  Currently we offer a total of 280 parking spaces for staff and students on site.  Schools of our size are now built to have between 400-500 parking spaces.  If you've ever tried to park at GHS during the school day - you understand the difference!
*  Currently, the community is not able to use our facilities in the way that we would like.  Because of our overutilized fields, and because of our crowded spaces, we aren't able to allow this important community use.  We want to open up our facilities more to community use - but in order to do this, we must design with this in mind.
Where are we with the Project?
Right now, we have an overall draft design that we are working from.  This draft design incorporates all of the programmatic, athletic, and community needs associated with this project at this time.  This IS NOT A FINAL DESIGN, but this will be the design that gets us to our first initial project estimate.  I expect that our first project estimate will be high, and because of this, we will then need to take more time to sharpen our pencils and reduce costs to get the estimated project total to a place where our building committee feels it can be supported by our community - all of you!

But for now, here is where we are:
I realize this is likely a bit small (larger image with labels is linked below), so I'll review the highlights of what you see here.  Please note that what you see in the cream color for the building is existing.  What you see in the orange color is additional classroom space.  At this point, we are designing the building to house 1100 students even though our 10-year projections have us going to 944 students total.  We are doing this because we know that whatever we wind up doing for this project will be a 20-30 year commitment and we do not want to have to come back to taxpayers in 10 years with another capital project for GHS because we have run out of space. This enrollment target may change as we continue to move through the work.

You should also note when looking at the new classroom wing on the right side of the existing building that we are proposing to close the current access road on that side, therefore diverting all traffic down Ballpark Road and then reconnecting with the Access Road to allow traffic to flow to the high school.  This was done in order to give us space to build the new classroom wing.  This new classroom wing will be a two-story structure adding approximately 14 new classrooms and 2 science labs to GHS. 

As you can also see, this new wing takes up a small portion of Robie Park.  We are having to utilize Robie as a way to keep the expansion of GHS at the current location.  As you may recall, this is the least expensive of all options researched a year ago (we looked at building new on another site, flip-flopping with GMS, and renovating on existing site - renovating on existing site was the least expensive option) and what the Town Council requested we look at as our primary option moving forward.  We are working diligently to ensure we are leaving as much green space and functional community recreational space at Robie Park as possible while still meeting the needs of the project.  We are also proposing to move our tennis courts to Robie Park, which we hope will expand community access and use of these great recreational facilities.  Please note that even with the classroom expansion using access road and a small portion of Robie, and moving the Tennis courts to Robie, we are still able to leave the playground and are working hard to also leave the community gardens in place for future use.  The softball field will continue to remain where it is and get new lighting.

Continuing on with the building additions, when you look at the other orange areas, you can see that we are expanding our existing cafeteria to hold the appropriate number of students.  Additionally, because we are projecting to grow as much as we are, we are factoring in the need for an additional gymnasium.  This gymnasium will assure students are able to participate in Physical Education classes during the day, practice and participate in our after-school programs during reasonable times, all while also allowing more community use of our facilities.  In addition to the gym, we are also looking to add a large cardio and fitness room to this area which can be used by our students during the day and be open to the community for use outside of the regular student day.

Additional items to note from this site plan are the addition of over 200 parking spaces, the movement of the administrative offices to the main entrance side of the building with appropriate security measures in place to ensure increased student safety, and the movement of our main competition field to allow for the building changes necessary to accommodate the design.  We are also seeking the addition of synthetic turf to the main competition field so that we can provide an adequate space for our students to participate in PE classes during the school day, an adequate space for practices and competitions to be held by our students, and provide a venue that can be more readily used by our community when not in use by the school. 

What you can't see very well from this image is the fact that this renovation will also ensure our existing classroom sizes meet square footage standards for the present day, and our mechanical systems will be upgraded to be more energy efficient and reliable for the next 30 years!

Overall, what I hope you see from the diagram is that we have worked hard to address all of the identified needs for the building that will make this building a source of pride for our community for many more years to come!  By adding classrooms, by increasing square footage space in existing classrooms, by expanding the cafeteria, by moving administrative offices, by adding parking, and by focusing on how we can increase community utilization of this incredible Gorham community asset, I believe we are well on our way to making this project a success for our students and for the whole community of Gorham!
Overview of Next Steps & General Timeline:
*  Athletic Capital Campaign Committee (ACC) meeting Jan. 7 at 6:00 p.m. 
*  GHS Building Committee (BC) meeting Jan. 8 at 6:00 p.m.
*  GHS BC presentation to Gorham School Committee - Jan. 9 at 7:00 p.m. during regular SC meeting.
*  Joint meeting between Gorham School Committee (SC) and Gorham Town Council (TC) - Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
*  ACC "soft launch" work begins - Mid- January.
*  Anticipated INITIAL Project Estimate Ready - end of Jan. 
*  Presentation to Gorham Business Exchange (GBE) & other business leaders(by GBE invite) - Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m.
*  Public feedback forum - Mid-February
* Thoughtexchange Community Survey - February
*  ACC "hard launch" work begins - March
*  GHS BC continues to meet to adjust project based upon feedback - February - June, 2019
*  GHS BC recommends final project to SC - July, 2019
*  SC votes to approve final project - August, 2019
*  TC votes to add item to November, 2019 referendum - September 2019
*  Public Referendum vote on GHS project - November, 2019
*  You can view GHS BC meeting agendas, minutes, & materials by CLICKING HERE.
*  You can view ACCC meeting agendas, minutes & materials by CLICKING HERE.
*  You can view the Jan. 15, 2019 update to Town Council by CLICKING HERE.