Oyster River School Renovation Projects Feature Safety Improvements

Oyster River Cooperative School District
SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824

For Immediate Release

Monday, April 1, 2019

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

Oyster River School Renovation Projects Feature Safety Improvements and Enhanced Classroom Space

DURHAM – Superintendent James Morse is pleased to share that Oyster River Cooperative School District has completed a building project at Mast Way Elementary, and began improvement work at Moharimet Elementary School today.

Mast Way Elementary School Building Project

In Spring 2018, construction began on an addition and renovation at Mast Way Elementary. The project included a major security upgrade in the form of a vestibule in the entryway of the building, creating better visibility for office staff greeting visitors.  The vestibule also has double locking doors.

To better accommodate an increased student population, Mast Way also added three new classrooms and a dedicated music room. Since the 2015 to 2016 school year, the student population at Mast Way Elementary has risen by 82 students. For years, music classes had been held on the stage in the auditorium of the school, which was never intended to be used as classroom space.

The original Mast Way Elementary School Building was constructed in 1960, and additions were previously completed in 1967 and 1994. 

“Vestibules are key safety features for modern schools, and it has been reassuring for staff, parents and students alike to know that our school is more secure with this new entrance,” said Mast Way Principal Carrie Vaich. “We were also in significant need of new classroom space, and with these new rooms our teachers are able to implement their lessons as intended and better serve their students.”

The main office was also expanded and conference rooms were added during the renovation.

Construction on the project was completed in two stages. The classrooms were completed in November 2018 and the construction on the expanded office finished in January 2019.

The New Hampshire Department of Education provided $547,567 in funding to assist the district in the renovation and addition project, which cost approximately $1.3 million.

Moharimet Elementary School Building Project 

Construction on a renovation project at Moharimet Elementary School began on Monday, April 1, and is projected to be complete at the beginning of the upcoming school year.

Once work is done, Moharimet will be equipped with a similar vestibule at the entrance of the school, which will allow staff to better control entry and make the building significantly safer. Today, the entryway to the school opens into a main hallway. A new conference room and principal’s office will also be built as part of the renovation.

Following the renovation, visitors to the school will also pass by the principal’s office first before reaching a hallway, adding another level of safety to the building.

The project will also feature new landscaping, which will honor and represent the history and culture behind the school’s name. Moharimet was a Sagamore (Chief) in the Durham area approximately 400 years ago, and the hill to the east of the school is also known as Moharimet Hill.

The school will be working in coming months with the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki people to discuss indigenous plantings, words and symbols of the Pennacook Abenaki to incorporate into concrete work and landscaping.

“This landscaping will honor the Pennacook Abenaki, and the historic tribe from which our school gets its name from,” Moharimet Principal David Goldsmith said. “It’s important and exciting for us to have this opportunity to learn about the history and present day Native American ties to this region and our school.”

The project was approved as part of Oyster River Cooperative School District’s 2019-2020 budget, and also received $100,000 in funding from the New Hampshire Department of Education– Public School and Infrastructure Funds. The project has a budget of $855,000 including the funds from the state.

Stephen Blatt Architects and Bauen Corporation, a construction management company, were selected by the district to work on both the Mast Way and Moharimet Elementary School projects.