SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Oyster River Middle School Advisory Committee Finalizing Facility Study
DURHAM — Superintendent James Morse reports that members of an advisory committee are finalizing a study of Oyster River Middle School to determine the future of the 83-year-old building.
The middle school, which opened in 1935, is in need of repairs and renovations. In September 2017, Superintendent Morse formed the advisory committee to research and create a short list of options that could be presented to the School Board for review by the end of the 2017-18 school year.
The committee is made up of elected town leaders from Durham, Lee and Madbury, an architect, an engineer, a land developer, community members from all three towns and administrative support staff.
“Committee members have been working tirelessly to determine the best options for the middle school building, which has served the district well for many years,” Superintendent Morse said. “This must be done methodically so that we can find the right solution for our students and community.”
Over the last seven months, the committee has reviewed 13 options and is in the process of narrowing down next steps for the district.
- Renovate the building for the fourth time. The current middle school was last renovated in 1996 and also underwent renovations in 1954 and 1979. The question before the committee is whether it makes educational and financial sense to renovate the building again.
- Build new on the current site. The current building has a roof area equivalent to three football fields. If a new building were to be built, it is feasible to do so with a far smaller footprint — as little as one football field.
- Build new on a new site. The current site is 11.5 acres. If the district were to choose a new site there is potential for a much larger lot that provides more space for fields and less traffic congestion. A new site also comes with costly site development costs, which could be offset by the sale of the current middle school.
- Add a new middle school wing to the existing high school. The current middle school would be closed and the property sold.
- Build a grades six through eight middle school and send grade five back to the elementary schools. This option would require construction at all three schools.
- Build a seventh and eighth grade middle school and renovate elementary schools to accommodate kindergarten through sixth grade. This option would require construction at all three schools.
- Add grades five to eight to each elementary school resulting in Mast Way and Moharimet kindergarten through eighth grade schools. This option would require construction at both elementary schools.
- Tear down portions of the existing school and replace it with new construction. This option would require temporarily relocating middle school students while construction is ongoing.
- Build a middle school for grades sixth through eight on a new location and expand elementary schools to grades kindergarten through fifth. This option would require construction at all three schools.
- Change the elementary schools so one is grades kindergarten through fourth and the other is grades five through eight. This option would require construction at both elementary schools.
- Build a new facility for grades kindergarten through eighth grade on a different site and sell the current OR middle school, Mast Way and Moharimet schools. This option would result in a school of nearly 1,400 students
- Build a new Oyster River High School and move the existing middle school into the current high school.
- Explore building a new regional high school and move the existing middle school into the existing high school. This option would require school systems willing to work together.