District asks for input on school needs

LYNDEBOROUGH – Copies of an extensive questionnaire concerning the direction the School Board should take in regard to expansion and/or renovation of the Central School should arrive at all homes in town early next week. The questionnaire is the result of several months of work by the school’s Building Options Committee.

Committee members urge everyone to complete the questionnaire and return it because the School Board needs to have input from the town to make a recommendation at the School District Deliberative Session on Jan. 31.

Questionnaires should be returned promptly, with a deadline of Jan. 10, because warrant articles for the Deliberative Session must be posted by Jan. 16.

The School Board approved funds to mail the questionnaire to all households. The mailing was determined to be the best and easiest way to get the forms to all residents. An addressed, stamped envelope will be included to return the questionnaire.

The questionnaire includes a cover letter explaining the need for more space at the school for special services and covers a variety of options to obtain it. Options include a new school on another site, an addition and extensive renovations to the current building, use of portable classrooms and moving the sixth grade to the Cooperative Middle School.

Various life-safety issues, including air quality, are outlined.

On Dec. 15, the committee met with architect Kyle Barker, who discussed state standards for school classroom sizes and the space needed for 150 students, the figure he deemed appropriate for a town the size of Lyndeborough over the long term. The school has about 100 students in six grades and meets few state standards. Two of the classrooms date to 1949.

In Barker’s estimation, a building for 150 students with all attendant services currently required, would require about 2½ times the current space. He said cost estimates at this time include “too many variables” to be more than a guess, but could be up to $3 million for a new facility.

He also estimated the cost of portable classrooms at “about $100,000” with about five years to break even.

The committee will meet again Monday at 6 p.m., prior to the regular meeting of the School Board.

Jessie Salisbury can be reached at 654-9704 or jessies@tellink.net.