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November 09. 2012 12:13AM

Windham looks at how best to alleviate school overcrowding

WINDHAM - Days after Monday's detailed presentation on possible solutions to Windham's school overcrowding problem, officials are asking residents to continue offering their input via e-mail through Nov. 20.

In a survey last spring, voters said they prefered a permanent solution over adding temporary, portable classrooms while adding concern over rising property taxes.

More than 65 percent of those surveyed worried about the lack of middle school science labs. Sixty percent complained about the lack of enrichment problems in kindergarten through eighth grade.

School officials noted Golden Brook School has a classroom capacity of 306 students though its presently houses 481. The Windham Center School has a capacity of 416 students but has 619 students are enrolled at the school.

The middle school houses 644 students or 268 more than than its stated capacity of 376 students.

Officials fear increased enrollments will result in more congested hallways, limited locker space and long delays to use the lavatory: all of which may negatively impact instruction time.

Board member Mike Joanis said the board was leaning heavily toward adding on to the current middle school or building a new middle school.

The proposed initial phase of an addition would alleviate some of the overcrowding at Windham Middle School, Joanis said.

Plans include the addition of 14 new classrooms, with long-range plans to place grades five through eight at the current middle school; kindergarten through second grade at Golden Brook School and grades three and four at Windham Center School.

A three-story, 30,600 square foot addition at the middle school would include future phases to include an additional 48,000 square feet.

The middle school's future phase would cost an estimated $15.1 million with Golden Brook updates to incur another $14.3 million.

Another option is constructing a new middle school on London Bridge Road near the existing high school. Initial building costs would be just under $30 million, with room left for potential growth through the construction process, and would take up to 30 months.

Comments and suggestions may be sent to the Windham School Board via email at wsb@sau28.org.

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April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.


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