The Salem School District Facility Renovation Project--passed as Warrant Article 2 on the March 2010 school district ballot--is a plan to renovate all of Salem's schools over a feasible period of time.
The School Board, the school administration, and the architectural firm of Lavallee Brensinger worked with a community facilities committee to investigate and recommend a facility renovation plan. Gilbane Company is the Construction Manager on the project. Trident Advantage Group is the school district’s Owner’s Project Manager.
These 40+ year old facilities lack space to accommodate our new kindergarten program as well as programs introduced within the past generation. The electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems all need upgrades as do all the interior finishes. A facilities audit completed in 2005 identified renovation needs totaling ten million dollars. In 2008 the Board charged the Superintendent with developing a facilities master plan to address our aging schools’ needs. This plan was completed earlier in the 2009-2010 school year and considers renovation and expansion needs that will address sub-standard instructional spaces, poor storage, failing systems, inadequate security, and low building code compliance.
Although the Facilities Master Plan includes all Salem Schools, three elementary schools – Barron, Lancaster, and North Salem – will be addressed first because they require extensive work and are the most expensive to renovate and expand. Further, the district will eliminate six temporary classroom structures when renovations are complete thereby saving the district tens of thousands of dollars in lease costs expected to begin in 2012. With an anticipated moratorium on state construction aid for projects not approved by June, 2010, and because construction costs and interest rates are the lowest in years, it is considered a fiscally conservative and responsible decision to renovate these three elementary schools first. Elementary schools are targeted first because of the imperative to remove as many temporary classrooms as possible by the fall of 2012. Currently the State of NH pays leasing costs of approximately $120,000/year. If they are not removed by the fall of 2012, the school district and taxpayers will begin shouldering 100% of the lease costs.
Phase 1 construction began this Summer and is scheduled to continue through the September 2011. Project updates will be available through this website, community news outlets, and district newsletter mailings.