Cooperative Middle School Building Project Spotlight On: Multipurpose Room 


New Hampshire SAU 16
Dr. David Ryan, Superintendent
30 Linden Street
Exeter, NH 03833

For Immediate Release

Monday, Feb. 11, 2019

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Cooperative Middle School Building Project Spotlight On: Multipurpose Room 

EXETER — In an effort to provide residents with all relevant information surrounding the Cooperative Middle School building project, Superintendent David Ryan is sharing the details of each component through the district’s spotlight series.

Each week, SAU 16 will delve into topics surrounding the proposed expansion and renovation project at CMS. In this feature story, SAU 16 seeks to educate its community members about the need for a multipurpose room.

The expansion and renovation project would create a multipurpose room at CMS that would be primarily used during the school day for the alternative physical education program (Alt. PE). Designed to provide an inclusive gym class experience to all students, Alt. PE offers activities including fishing, archery, bocce, snow shoeing, bicycling and wheelchair basketball. Many students also join the program to become mentors, helpers and friends to their classmates.

Currently, the Alt. PE program is taught in a 1,200-square-foot room designed for an industrial arts class. With the exception of rubber mats that have been placed on the floor, there have been no renovations to the room to meet the needs of the program. The room contains industrial plumbing fixtures, hanging electrical cords, and stores audio/visual equipment, all of which serve as possible hazards to physical activity.

The new multipurpose room would almost double the size of the current Alt. PE room, at 2,350 square feet, and would be designed with wall and floor coverings to support safe physical activity. The room would also offer storage and office space for two Alt. PE and health teachers. Currently, the two Alt. PE teachers at CMS work in an area that was designed for storage, not office space.

If the CMS renovation project moves forward, the current Alt. PE room would be made into six offices that would be used by counselors, therapists and other faculty — some of whom currently work in storage closets.

In addition to providing a more professional environment for staff members to work, the newly designed area would offer a much needed semi-private space for student services, including counseling. It would then allow storage, team and small classroom space to return its original purpose.

“Our students need a space that will support and enhance the Alt. PE program,” Superintendent Ryan said. “Alt. PE is a rich, inclusive physical education experience that not only introduces students with varying needs to healthy, active activities, but it also brings our students closer together through teamwork and recreation. Our students deserve a space where they can do that comfortably and safely.”

In addition to housing the Alt. PE program, the multipurpose room would be used by the CMS wrestling team during the winter season. Wrestling practices are currently held in the cafeteria because the gymnasium is fully scheduled throughout the winter after school by other sports teams. The multipurpose room would provide a space for CMS wrestling athletes to practice comfortably, and would also allow them to keep their mats on a rack in the room instead of carrying them to and from the cafeteria daily.

The CMS building project would also include the creation of an area next to the multipurpose room that would house specialized equipment for students that receive physical therapy, occupational therapy and sensory interventions. Some of this programming is currently held in a converted office designed for one adult. The room is too small for the programming it needs to support, and only one or two students can use the room at a time. For example, when a student uses the sensory swing in the room, multiple adults often surround the child so that they do not hit a wall.

Voters will be asked to consider the $17.8 million project to improve services for students, faculty and staff on March 12. All six towns that make up CMS — Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham must collectively pass the ballot item with at least 60 percent voting in favor for the initiative to move forward.