School Board Begin To Look At Different Options For Moose Hill

The School District discussed different preliminary options on how to move forward with the space needs issues at Moose Hill during the June 18 meeting.
In March, voters rejected two different warrant articles to allow for more space at Moose Hill and to address space needs at the school and another project to allow for full day kindergarten in Londonderry.
“We know now we have at least 2 small classes in the future which can provide at least some temporary opportunities to solve our space issues,” Superintendent, Dan Black, wrote in a previous memo to the School Board. “We also know that some of the factors that are driving lower enrollment – high cost of residential properties – have a very different dynamic with commercial real estate in the area.”
Black explained that for years they typically had 260 kids for kindergarten then would have around 300 students per class in the other grades.
Now they are in the bottom half of 200 students per class based on enrollment projections.
One of the options was to bring back the same proposed project to the ballot in March, but due to inflation, the cost of the project will likely be more expensive.
Black also noted that there is no guarantee that they will be able to get more voter support than they did in March, and that due to changes in enrollment for kindergarten there may not be a need for as large a project for the short term.
Option 2A would be to look at a smaller project for Moose Hill “and try to find something palpable for the voters,” Black said.
“Are there ways we can do this project differently? Were there things we could possibly rethink,” Black said.
He explained that due to a lack of building aid from the State for projects, it’s normal for school districts to propose projects and then if they don’t pass they look at a different size project.
Following the vote in March, Black said the administration met to look at what they could do.
“That’s a very normal process,” Black said.
He said ultimately they would be able to have full day kindergarten in Moose Hill, and then the new wings of the school could be used for any of the other programs.
“I think it’s a long term plan for Moose Hill,” Black said.
Option 2B would look at an even smaller project which would add 8,000 to 11,000 square feet of space at Moose Hill which would allow for a cafeteria/ gym, a large meeting space, kitchen, and two to four classrooms.
Option 3 would be to add a cafeteria, kitchen, adult bathroom, and a safer entrance at Moose Hill, in order to have full day kindergarten at Moose Hill.
As part of that option, it would also include acquiring the old Derry Medical Center building at 6 Buttrick Road. The building is currently for sale for a price of $3.9 million.
One of the unknowns at this point would be what the cost of the renovations would be.
“We don’t know what renovations would cost,” Black said.
The idea would be to then have the District Office on the third floor of the Buttrick Road building and have the preschool program on the first two floors of the building.
Black said the option would help them with space needs in order to have full-day kindergarten while also addressing the needs for the District Office.
“Again, we’re at the conceptual level right now and we haven’t teased out all the details,” Black said.
The fourth option would be to look at space at the high school and middle school.
He said they need to continue to look at the details for it and they are working with a construction manager to go through conceptual planning to see if option 3 would be viable.
The other option Black pointed to would be to look for space at the high school and middle school for either the preschool program, the District Office, or both.
School Board members generally agreed that they wanted to get more numbers for Option 2A and Option 3, with Option 4 at the high school being another potential option to look at.
Black said they would work on having more information about the different options for the July meeting.

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