Redesign of Wells High School Ready For November Bond Vote | Schools

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Redesign of Wells High School Ready For November Bond Vote
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Redesign of Wells High School Ready For November Bond Vote

 

Wednesday evening the Wells High School Building Committee held a public meeting at the Wells High School library. The building committee is made up of a cross section of Ogunquit and Wells citizens, educators, business leaders, school committee members, and district staff and administration.  Assembled in  August of 2012, the committee has worked with the architectural firm of  Lavalle-Brensinger develop a design which will take Wells High School through the 21st Century.  At the May 22 meeting, the project architects reviewed the budget and the current exterior design discussing items specific to the project development. Members of the public also mentioned energy efficiency, safety, and aesthetic items. Ron Lamarre, of Lavalle-Brensigner, reminded the group that much of design work is done after the November referendum - only about fifteen percent is done pre-ballot.
The process began in 2011, as a result of a review by the Facilities Committee as well as input from district staff and administrators, money was allocated in the FY’12 budget for an architect study of Wells High School. The report by Harriman Architects+Engineers was presented in March 2012. An ad-hoc committee of staff, administrators and members of the public was established to vet the options and give a recommendation to the school committee.

The ad-hoc committee reviewed the needs assessment which included multiple issues; ADA, life safety, failing mechanical systems, insufficient infrastructure (power & water), inefficient classroom spaces, lack of storage, outdated lab facilities, etc. A baseline budget of 7.5 million dollars was determined to address code, mechanical, and life safety items. The identified items would not address the many pressing space and design issues that lead to classes overflowing into corridors, storage in work spaces, and desks having to be moved aside to hold labs and back again for science lectures.

The outcome of the Harriman report was a list of four options for the school committee and community members to consider as alternatives. The choices ranged from the baseline 7.5 million to a new school on a new site for 32.5 million. The school committee held several public hearing where input was received from members of both the Ogunquit and Wells communities. Voices expressed opinions throughout the spectrum. The majority of those who spoke were in favor of a full renovation or a new school on the current site. The community expressed a desire to keep a connected campus. The ad-hoc committee recommended a new school on site. The school committee voted for a renovation of the auditorium, athletic, and administrative space and the addition of a new academic wing, this became option E. Option E  is what the building committee was organized to develop and what was being discussed Wednesday the 22nd.

The remainder of the Wednesdays meeting centered around the modes of communication needed to ensure citizens of Ogunquit and Wells receive all necessary project information. The community discussed ways to make sure the community understands how a new Wells High School would benefit the Ogunquit and Wells communities. Discussion included points including current safety and code issues, a changing economy and educational methods, and the fact the updated building will be an asset to the community.

The chair of the public relations and marketing committee, Jane Bogue,  unveiled the new Facebook page of the group, which can be located at: https://www.facebook.com/newwellshighschool. A Google calendar has been created so the committee members can ensure a presence at local events. The committee work to date can be found on the WOCSD website, which also hosts an FAQ link.  The WOCSD is located at: http://www.k12wocsd.net/home/whs-building-project.  Additionally,   Lavallee-Brensigner architects can be found on the web at: http://lbpa.com/

The group welcomes public input and is ready to address community concerns.  The next scheduled meeting of the building committee will be in the Wells High School library on June 12 at 6:00 pm.  The building committee is jointly chaired by local residents Zak Harding and Josh Gould. 

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