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January 16. 2014 10:49PM

Hollis/Brookline district assesses future needs

HOLLIS — With a facilities study for the Hollis/Brookline School District now complete, school officials are beginning to take a long, hard look at ways to address future space needs.

The report, which assessed the current and anticipated capacities of both the middle and high schools, was released Jan. 10.

Superintendent John Moody said the recent building study conducted by consultants from the N.H. School Administrators Association began last fall and proved to be “quite a complex process.”

Moody said the next steps would be the development of a five-year plan outlining projected needs.The Hollis Brookline Cooperative School District maintains two schools: Hollis Brookline Middle School for grades seven and eight, and Hollis Brookline High School.According to the report, which is posted on the district website, it cost $12,148 per middle school pupil during the 2011-12 school year, which was lower than the state average of $12,605.

Average costs per high school pupil during that time period was $11,104, lower than the state average of $13,101.

This year there are 380 middle school students and 875 high school students enrolled in the district.

That number is expected to steadily decline in the coming years, with projected enrollments for middle school at 296 and high school at 659 by the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Built in 1962, the middle school was subject to substantial renovations and additions in 2001 and currently boasts 92,000 square feet of space and 22 regular classrooms.

However, the report also hinted at challenges in several areas, including a science classroom housed in an area not equipped for science and smaller than recommended spaces in some classrooms on account of the building’s age.

Still, the school has the overall capacity to house a maximum of 436 students, according to state and district guidelines.

The district high school, constructed in 1997, underwent renovations in 1999 and 2000, and currently boasts 142,849 square feet of space.

Bond items asking voters to approve additional classroom and cafeteria space failed in both 2006 and 2007.

The recent report noted that the high school cafeteria remains undersized and limits on classroom space have proven challenging.

The high school has the maximum capacity of 804 students based on district and state guidelines and is therefore considered to be over its capacity at current time.

The consulting team recommended several options, including the eventual construction of a new cafeteria addition, transforming a mini-gym into a satellite cafeteria space during lunchtime and building three classrooms.aguilmet@newstote.com


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