SAU39 - Amherst, NHJoint Facilities Advisory Committee
The Present & Future of Amherst’s Schools
Latest News & Updates
SAU JFAC Mission & Vision
The SAU Joint Facilities Advisory Committee has been tasked with conducting an analysis of the state of public education facilities in Amherst. They will provide recommendations to the governing bodies (SCSB, ASB) regarding the interim and long-term facilities needs, taking into account educational outcomes and how to best level the cost impact to residents in an efficient manner.
Master Planning Study
As a result of the passing of the Amherst School District Budget, the Architectural firm of Lavallee Bresinger was hired to complete a comprehensive study of the facilities in the Amherst School District. This is the same firm that completed the Souhegan 2.0 project several years ago.
The Situation We Face
The aging Amherst schools and larger enrollment sizes have put significant strain on the facilities, the school budget and quality of education offered in Amherst. Our class sizes are some of the highest in the NH and we have outgrown the Elementary and Middle schools. The Clark, Wilkins, and AMS buildings are in need of major repairs and renovations. For many years we have implemented patches and temporary solutions, at a significant cost, but all this is doing is prolonging a permanent solution without improving the quality of our schools or educational experience.
The school system is the #1 reason families move to Amherst and this plays a key factor in our property values. Amherst’s educators are some of the best around, but surrounding communities have superior facilities and a high quality education and as this gap grows, Amherst property becomes less attractive.
Continuing down the path of trying to make what we have work, has unfortunately run it’s course.
Our taxes are high. There’s no denying that. Amherst has one of the highest cost per pupil in NH. The path forward is one that requires a substantial financial investment from our community and will impact the tax rate, but if there ever was a time to commit to major renovations and new construction, this is it. Borrowing rates at at historic lows. The cost of construction is expected to increase significantly over the next 5 years. If we do nothing, will need to spend a large amount in the near future on major repairs to Clark, Wilkins, and AMS, including purchasing many portable classrooms (nobody will be rushing to Amherst when the school consists of 10 trailers in a field). It is fiscally prudent to put those funds towards a solution that lasts, enhances the quality of the Amherst school system, protects and strengthens our property values.
About the JFAC
The SAU Joint Facilities Advisory Committee has been tasked with conducting an analysis of the state of public education facilities in Amherst. They will provide recommendations to the governing bodies (SCSB, ASB) regarding the interim and long-term facilities needs of the public-school facilities in Amherst, taking into account educational outcomes and how to best level the cost impact to residents in an efficient manner.
Chair-Amy Facey, SCSB Amherst Rep. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair-Shannon Gascoyne, Community Member – email@example.com
John Bowkett, Community Member
Brian Coogan, Community Member
Michele Croteau, Business Administrator
John D’Angelo, BOS
Tom Gauthier, ASB
Christine Grayson, Community Member
Pim Grondstra, SCSB Mont Vernon Rep.
Ellen Grudzien, ASB
Stephanie Grund, SCSB Amherst Rep.
Shannon Hargreaves, Souhegan High School Student
Jeanne Ludt, Community Member
Victoria Parisi, Community Member
Adam Steel, Superintendent
Amherst Middle School
Souhegan High School
- Year Built: 1992
- Grades: 9 through 12
- # of Classrooms: ?
- Avg Class Size: ?