Architect picked for

LITCHFIELD – Plans for a new elementary school received a boost this weekend when the School Board picked an architect for the proposal.

The board on Saturday approved hiring Harriman Associates, which is based in Portland, Maine. The firm also has an office in Portsmouth.

Harriman designed the new Exeter High School, which will accommodate more than 2,000 students from Exeter and five other towns.

Several architects applied to design the school, and the board interviewed three. After two meetings, the board chose Harriman. The firm will be paid about $25,000 to design a school and calculate the price of the building, board member Cindy Couture said.

The money to pay the architect is coming from impact fees, which developers pay based on the estimated effect on town roads, schools and services that a given project would create.

Choosing an architect is one of the many hurdles the board will have to clear before voting in March. A building committee is being appointed and will work with the architects.

The board wants a dollar amount for the new elementary school ready by the end of December for the Budget Committee, Couture said.

The school space-needs committee recently made its proposal to the School Board for easing school crowding. The committee recommended demolishing Griffin Memorial School and building two new schools.

The School Board is moving forward with plans to have designs drawn for a school between the middle school and GMS. Board members have said the school would house kindergarten and grades 1-3.

Kindergarten would be presented as a separate warrant article in March.

The School Board is accepting applications from residents interested in being on the Building Committee. Interested applicants should call the School Administrative Unit office at 578-3570.

The board has also extended invitations to other committees and boards, such as the Budget Committee, about having members on the Building Committee, which will have its first meeting Dec. 5.

The architects will interview staff members, including teachers and custodians, at Griffin Memorial and will watch classes, Couture said.

The Building Committee will also work with the architects and help provide information to the town about the project, Couture added. At its first meeting, the committee will most likely discuss its tasks and how to divide them up, she said.