Facilities Committee Looks to Repair School Buildings

By Paul Conyers

The Facilities Committee held its rescheduled Facilities Master Plan Workshop on June 6. Dan Black of the Facilities Committee highlighted a few primary goals for their master plan.
“We have old buildings, that really shouldn’t be a surprise” Black stated, “the most accurate way to say that is parts of our buildings are old.” Recognizing what parts of school property will soon need replacement is a priority for the Committee, which emphasized the need to focus on long-term planning on this issue over the next decade.
The Trident Group and Lavallee Brensinger Architects (LBA) were recently contracted to examine the conditions of all school buildings to determine the focus of any future projects.
“We’ve been through every building with a full team of architects and engineers” according to Lance Whitehead of LBA, who also noted that the study has been underway for nearly two years. “Everything we’re presenting is flexible and still has lots of opportunities for input to help us shape it.”
The exact amount of work needed on the buildings depends on the facility. North School for example will need new insulation to improve energy efficiency while elements of its 1960s buildings require reconstruction due to age. Some improvements are related to the age of the structure though others will help Londonderry adhere to modern Department of Education standards.
Londonderry High School’s underlying structure is one of the most pressing issues. The center of the High School is “flammable construction that is not allowed in high schools today” and all engineers recommended rebuilding much of the High School.
Whitehead called for new ways to house students. One proposal for Londonderry Middle School will “really allow the teachers to get to know these kids, giving everything, they need to get ready for high school.”
Every proposal of the Master Plan includes increasing the footprint of school buildings to meet federal requirements. Such an expansion could be an obstacle due to a need to remove the base of certain buildings such as the High School. Much of the school will need complete reconstruction.
South School is one of the most problematic facilities according to the report. More fresh air and natural light were cited as a priority to help students through the roof is the pressing structural issue. Poor drainage and an old foundation limit what improvements or modifications can be made in the short term.
The only school in good condition is Moose Hill, being the newest in Londonderry. Whitehead emphasized that even Moose Hill requires new spaces, as the Facilities Committee hopes to double the size of the kindergarten building
White concluded his report by noting that “nearly every school needs something” as Londonderry schools are “200,000 square feet short” of space required by current federal standards.
Despite a need for building improvements, the engineer report found that no building is at risk of a sudden, catastrophic failure at this point.
Black emphasized that the Facilities Committee Master Plan is advice, not binding on the School Board. The community is encouraged to submit input.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter