On Monday, October 16, the School Committee met with the Yarmouth Town Council for the second time in four weeks to discuss proposed solutions to the School Department’s and Town’s facilities challenges. To meet programmatic, enrollment, and structural needs, the School Committee has proposed a conceptual plan that calls for extensive renovation and expansion of Yarmouth Elementary School and significant expansion of Rowe School and Yarmouth High School.
In discussion with the Town Council in September, it became clear that the Town has upcoming capital needs as well. There is a group in town actively seeking the development of a community center, and several municipal departments (Community Services, Public Safety, etc.) are in need of larger or renovated spaces. With that in mind, the School Committee and Town Council entered into discussion of how the two entities may work together to provide the best facilities for the entire town in the most effective and cost-efficient manner. As a result of that conversation, the School Committee explored an alternative option to address its facilities needs that included:
- · Re-purposing of the Rowe School facility for community/municipal use, to be determined by the Town Council;
- · Expansion and complete renovation of Yarmouth Elementary School to accommodate enrollment growth, upgrade building systems, and provide for a Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 population, with two schools operating as somewhat separate entities in one physical plant;
- · Minor construction at Harrison Middle School;
- · Additions to Yarmouth High School.
On October 16, the School Committee and Town Council considered this option in greater detail. It became apparent that the Rowe School contained a great deal more space than the Town would require and the cost to replace Rowe as a school would be prohibitive. It was decided that a collaborative effort that supports the proposal put forth by the School Committee while defining solutions to the Town’s space needs will be the most cost effective and programmatically efficient approach to meet Yarmouth’s facility needs.
Therefore, the School’s Facilities Committee will focus on further development of the plan that is known as “Option 4”, which includes the following:
- Expansion of Rowe School to accommodate enrollment growth in Kindergarten and Grade 1 and provide for the addition of Pre-Kindergarten programming.
- Expansion and complete renovation of Yarmouth Elementary School to accommodate enrollment growth, upgrade building systems, and provide for the relocation of Grade 5 from Harrison Middle School to Y.E.S.
- A small classroom addition and minor interior work at Harrison Middle School, relocating the choral room from its current location on the stage in the cafeteria to a classroom space that will be made possible by moving Grade 5 to Y.E.S. Reducing H.M.S. enrollment to three grades (6-8) may allow for the removal of portable classrooms and result in a facility capacity that is higher than its enrollment at minimal cost and disruption to the school.
- Expansion of Yarmouth High School to accommodate enrollment growth. Additional classrooms, larger cafeteria, relocation of the exercise room, and creation of an additional music room are the key components of this plan.
- At each school, additional consideration is being given to exterior components, including parking, traffic patterns, and recreational spaces.
The School Facilities Committee will meet throughout the fall and winter to prepare for two rounds of public forums:
Round One: To present the plan and receive input from the community
Tuesday, February 13 Community Forum I 6:30 p.m. HMS Cafeteria
Monday, March 19 Community Forum II 8:00 a.m. Town Hall
Tuesday, March 27 Community Forum III 6:30 p.m. HMS
Round Two: To present plans with modifications from community input
Tuesday, June 19 Community Forum IV 6:30 p.m. YHS
Wednesday, June 20 Community Forum V 8:00 a.m. Town Hall
The School Committee will be receiving updates from the Facilities Committee, with formal reports on the following dates:
Thursday, December 14 School Committee Meeting 7:00 p.m. Log Cabin
Thursday, April 26 School Committee Meeting 7:00 p.m. Town Hall
The School Committee, Town Council and Community Center project team are continuing to work together collaboratively in a mutually supportive search to address town, school and community needs.
We invite the public to attend any and all meetings to stay apprised of this work.