School Board Hears School Buildings Feasibility Study

By Alex Malm

During the July 20 Londonderry School Board meeting the school board heard a presentation from Lavalle Brensinger Architects who was tasked with doing a feasibility study of the current conditions of the buildings in the district.
Londonderry Assistant Superintendent Dan Black said that the study was part of the beginning of the process for the school district’s 10-year master plan.
“This is a really big process for us, it’s something bigger than we’ve done before,” said black.
The District has also brought on the Trident Group who will be helping the district coordinate its master planning services.
Marc Lehoullier, a project manager for the Trident Group told the school board during the meeting that the first step in the process was for the architects to conduct a facilities study and educational plan study.
Ann Ketterer, an architect with Lavalle Brensinger, explained that they looked at all the different school buildings in the district.
“We looked at everything you have, the good, bad and the ugly,” she said.
The main goal of the study is to determine what is needed in the current spaces in terms of repairs, and also what spaces will be needed to meet current and future educational needs.
It was explained by Eric Leblanc from Lavalle Brensinger that as part of the study they looked at what educational spaces they have at each of the schools, and compared it to what they would need for space if they were to implement new programming as part of the master plan.
Teachers and staff were able to make suggestions on what is needed. The leadership at each of the schools vetted the suggestions and feedback.
They also take into account the fact that the New Hampshire Department of Education recommends that each classroom is a minimum of 900 square feet.
“We’re showing you what you currently have and what your program suggests that you need,” Leblanc said.
For example at Londonderry High School the needed space if they were to implement the new programming suggested and to meet the NHDOE guidelines would be 356,929 gross square feet. The current gross square feet at the high school for its current educational spaces is 281,964.
Another example is at Londonderry Middle School where the current gross square feet are 156,489. If they were to update programs and be in compliance with the recommendations from the NHDOE, they would need 182,094 gross square feet at the school.
The programming needs and suggestions from the staff at the different schools varied.
At the South School for example some of the programming needs include a complete new kitchen, a computer lab, more individual work areas, and a large sensory room just to name a few.
At Matthew Thorton some of the programming needs include a larger nurse area, small group/breakout spaces for services, and they also hope to get a STEM lab.
Londonderry School Board Chair Michael Saucier asked if since the majority of the schools would need more space to meet the recommended minimum space needed for classrooms, would they need to build more spaces.
Leblanc said that is more of a possible solution that is addressed later on in the process.
She said that it might not be necessary to build more spaces.

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