School district to hold series of forums on long-term planning for school buildings

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Central High School’s Practical Arts building – should this become Manchester School for the Arts? File Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – The community is invited to take part in a series of community forums on long-term planning for Manchester School District facilities. Four separate forums are scheduled, starting this Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The forums are the next step in a process of developing a long-term plan for school facilities in the city, an opportunity for members of the community to provide feedback and present ideas.

“Everyone is welcome to join us for these forums, not just those who work in our schools or have school-aged children,” said Assistant Superintendent Jenn Gillis, who is running the forums. “What we do with our schools impacts all of us, and we want to make sure everyone has a say.”

Earlier this year, Superintendent John Goldhardt presented recommendations based, in part, on recently completed studies of facilities and city demographics. In presenting his recommendations, Goldhardt wrote to the board that years of avoiding making difficult decisions on school facilities had created an untenable situation.

“What we’re left with are aging buildings that are costly to operate and are not suitable as a modern educational facility,” Goldhardt wrote. “This hurts not just our students and staff, but our community at large, because our public schools are not the draw that they could be, and should be.”

Among Goldhardt’s recommendations were consolidation of high schools, creation of magnet schools, continuation of the move to the 5-8 model for middle schools, and renovation of elementary schools. You can see the report with all the recommendations below.

The dates, times and locations of each forum are:

  • Tuesday, October 19 – 9:30-10:30 a.m. – Downtown Manchester YMCA, Stark Street entrance

  • Tuesday, October 19 – 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Parker-Varney Elementary School, 223 James Pollack Drive

  • Thursday, October 21 – 6:30-7:30 p.m. – McDonough Elementary School, 550 Lowell Street

  • Wednesday, October 27 – 6:30-7:30 p.m. – Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary, 1 Beatrice Lawrence Drive

COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of the forums. If you have questions about the forums, you can email communications@mansd.org – please use the subject line “Facilities forums.”