SAU39 - Amherst, NHJoint Facilities Advisory Committee
The Future of Amherst Public School Buildings
IN-PERSON MEETINGS TO RESUME – JULY 2021
We are happy to share that we will resume in person meetings at the SAU 39 Brick School in July. Please join us in person, or continue to follow along online. Our July 8, 2021 meeting will include updated draft conceptuals for review from Banwell Architects. We continue to work diligently to refine the scope of the projects and arrive at a plan that is fiscally responsible and addresses the needs of our schools and community. PLEASE STAY TUNED and STAY INFORMED!!
MAY 2021 – Architect Selected
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Clark School Exploration Committee – SURVEY
Building a Better Tomorrow
Sustaining our Future
The Amherst School District has struggled with a capacity crisis for decades. Today, we continue to operate costly buildings that are undersized and at end of life. This plan builds a new PK-5 school and modernizes and maintains Amherst Middle School for grades 6-8. A plan that will serve the community for the next 50 years.
This plan puts the 5th grade back in Elementary school, where it belongs.
Health & Safety at Every School
New and renovated schools will have proper ventilation, adequate air changes per hour, new and energy efficient mechanical/electrical systems and ample security features.
Kicking the Can is Costly
We will spend, on average, approximately $1.0 – $1.5m per year on capital improvements to existing facilities just to maintain our current configuration, which does not address the fact that we have some of the highest class size ratios in the state.
Better Education, Lower Class Sizes
TODAY – Amherst K-8 schools have some of the largest class sizes in NH, with 21-25 students per class. We do not have the space to lower our class size ratios with our current student population, and enrollment in Amherst is projected to increase in the future, further adding to the problem.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
The Amherst School District has struggled with a capacity crisis for decades. Today, we have some of the largest class sizes in New Hampshire in grades K-8. We continue to operate costly buildings that are undersized and end of life. The Clark, Wilkins, and AMS buildings are all due for major repairs and renovations. For many years, we have implemented patches and temporary solutions, at a significant cost. Unfortunately, these short term fixes did not adequately address our space needs for the long term.
The Joint Facilities Advisory Committee, with the support of the Amherst School Board, is proposing a plan that builds a new PK-5 school and updates and maintains Amherst Middle School for grades 6-8. These new and updated buildings will serve the community for the next 50 years and accommodate current and future generations adequately. This plan brings the 5th grade back to the elementary school where it is most appropriate, provides new and energy efficient HVAC and mechanical systems, and takes advantage of low municipal bond rates. This plan also allows construction phasing to occur in a way that provides minimal disruption to students and the community.
The path forward is one that requires a substantial commitment from our community. If there ever was a time to undertake major renovations and new construction, this is it. Borrowing rates are at historic lows, making debt cheap. The cost of construction is expected to increase significantly over the next 5 years. If we do nothing, we will still need to spend a large amount in the near future on major repairs to Clark, Wilkins, and AMS, including purchasing many portable classrooms to adequately meet our space needs. We will be investing in buildings that do not meet our needs. If we put off building projects for later down the road, costs will only escalate.
It is fiscally prudent to put funds towards a solution that lasts, enhances the quality of the Amherst school system, and protects and strengthens our property values. The future is NOW for Amherst School Buildings.
Please explore this website to learn more about the project and how you can help support this effort.
This website represents the work of the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee. This website is maintained by community volunteers and members of the committee. The content of this website is the work of the Joint Facilities Advisory Committee.