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July 03. 2013 2:26PM

Changes coming as Windham, Pelham divide into independent school districts

PELHAM – With Windham and Pelham's school districts separate as of July 1, many changes are afoot in the now-divided districts.

In early February, the Windham School Board hired Winfried Feneberg as the superintendent of the new School Administrative Unit 95. Feneberg officially began his administrative duties Monday morning.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Henry LaBranche, who has been overseeing SAU 28 encompassing Pelham and Windham, has retired, and former Associate Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz has taken over the helm as Pelham’s superintendent.

Prior to the split from Windham, SAU 28 was the only district in the state that had two high schools.
The home of the new SAU 28 in Pelham remains undetermined.

Earlier this month, the Pelham School Board debated options for housing the district's new SAU offices.

During the June 5 meeting, Lecaroz and Business Director Adam Steel discussed the possibility of purchasing a $615,000 modular building and installing it on the grounds of Pelham Memorial School.

Board member Megan Larson said, "This wasn’t the best option, but possibly the only option," since a proposal to renovate space at Pelham Town Hall to house the administrative offices failed before voters last spring.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of the modular building on June 5, but later reconsidered that option.

The Pelham School Board will meet again July 10 to further debate the location of the new SAU office.

Windham’s administrative offices will remain in the building on Route 111 that formerly housed the combined SAU 28, though the district’s preschool program will no longer be housed next door, Steel said.

Both the SAU offices and the preschool have been located inside the town’s former police complex since 1998.

But with plenty of space for the growing preschool program now available inside Windham High School, half of that space is no longer needed and per the district’s agreement with the town, the former preschool will soon sit vacant.

Steel said the town gave the old police station to the district for educational purposes, though the district’s contract with the town dictates the building would go back to the town in the event it’s no longer in use.

“So as of Jan. 1, 2014, this building will be going back to the town of Windham,” Steel said.

According to Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan, it’s unclear what will become of the former preschool.
During Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Sullivan raised the issue with the board, noting that the building could either be restored or put up for sale later next year.

The future of the former preschool will be further debated at an upcoming Windham selectmen meeting.

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