Frequently Asked Questions

Below is an active list of the questions being sent to the SAU, School Board, Pelham ACES, and that were asked at various meetings. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please reach out! If anything on this page needs clarification, we would be more than happy to help you.

Click on each question to go directly to the answer. Click the blue arrow in the bottom right corner to return to the top.

Question: How do we know that we are getting a good value?

Question: Will local contractors have a chance to bid on this work?

Question: How do we know that the work isn't just going to out-of-state contractors?

Question: What is the proposed construction schedule and the impact it will have on the students? If approved in March, when would be the target start and completion date?

Question: Is the design based on the current number of students and is there room for expansion?

Question: What is the cost of the project?

Question: What will be the tax impact for me?

Question: Will there be additional space added to the classroom wing of the building?

Question: Does this design include the 5th grade?

Question: I’m concerned about capacity, is expansion space for 70 additional students sufficient? What is the trend over time? How long will it last?

Question: If there are more than 70 additional students, how would we accommodate them? Will we have to add classrooms along the new corridor?

Question: What is the square footage of the existing school versus the total square footage of the proposed school?

Question: Has Pelham Memorial School created any problems related to COVID-19 this year?

Question: Why not demolish the existing school and build new?

Question: Have alternative designs been investigated?

Question: What is the official documentation explaining why Pelham Memorial School is not a middle school?

Question: Will the bathrooms and locker rooms provide single user options?

Question: I heard that this plan is not complete. Why is it not all worked out? Why does Pelham do it that way?

Question: Since it is hard to find staff during the pandemic, will it be hard to find staff for the FACS and STEAM Programs?

Question: Will air conditioning and air quality improvements be included?

Question: Will we still have portables?

Question: How do we know that we are getting a good value?
Answer: All trade bids and recommendations from the general contractor will be reviewed by the owner's project manager before being awarded. This includes reviewing bids for opportunities for value engineering items that reduce cost without compromise to quality, operation, or length of life. This project will use the same owner's project manager that Pelham hired for the Pelham HS project, which came in on budget and on schedule. 
Question: Will local contractors have a chance to bid on this work?
Answer: Yes. The bid process will be open to local contractors. In addition, there will be a Subcontractor Night offered for local subcontractors to meet with the general contractor and obtain qualifications sheets. Given past experience, local NH firms will likely be the most cost-competitive.
Question: How do we know that the work isn't just going to out-of-state contractors?
Answer: The General Contractor, Bonnette Page & Stone, is a New Hampshire based construction company that is well experienced in school construction.  They do not cross over the border to Massachusetts for projects. On the Pelham High School project, we believe that all but one subcontractor were NH based firms.

Question: What is the proposed construction schedule and the impact it will have on the students? If approved in March, when would be the target start and completion date?

Answer: The project includes several phases over a 24-month timeline, starting with early enabling work soon after the last day of school. Work will commence in full on July 1, 2021, and scheduled to be complete by August 2023. The schedule focuses on the summer and holiday breaks to minimize the impact on students and staff. The project team will create temporary swing spaces for Students and Staff to use as construction progresses. To ensure the safety of all the contractors will follow school construction protocols including badging and background checks. There will be no mingling with the students.

Question: Is the design based on the current number of students and is there room for expansion?

Answer: Yes and Yes. The design is based on the current number of students. There is room for future expansion and flexibility within the floor plan to accommodate additional students.

Question: What is the cost of the project?

Answer: The project has a guaranteed maximum price of $31,980,000 (As of January 2021). This is 3.6% higher than the same project last year due to inflation. This will be paid for through a 20-year bond. We estimate the interest rate for the bond will be no higher than 2.5%.

Question: Will there be additional space added to the classroom wing of the building?

Answer: Yes. The plan includes adding three towers along the classroom wing. Each tower will have new science labs on each floor. In addition, the tower will have “collaboration spaces” on each floor. These are an open meeting space that will allow for breakout groups, large group meetings, and team-building activities.

Question: What will be the tax impact for me?

Answer: The actual impact depends on the assessed value of the property you own in Pelham. We have developed a chart to help you determine the estimated tax impact. The projected tax impact developed by the Pelham School District can be found here. Overall, the average homeowner in town will pay approximately $1.30 per day in year 2, the most expensive year of the bond repayment schedule.  

The average value of a home in Pelham is $402,000. At $1.19/$1,000 of AV, that = $478.00 tax impact, or $1.30 per day.

Question: Does this design include the 5th grade?

Answer: No. This plan does not include the 5th grade.  In August of 2020, the Pelham School District completed a Capacity Study on Pelham Elementary School. That study indicated that the fifth grade can remain at Pelham Elementary School even if the district adds full day Kindergarten eventually.

Question: I’m concerned about capacity. Is expansion space sufficient? What is the trend over time?

Answer: The expansion will create capacity for up to 75 students. This is the equivalent of one additional classroom for each of the three grades. According to the Superintendent’s Enrollment Projections from October 2020, Pelham Memorial School currently has 438 students and is projected to have 403 next year and 386 in 2022-23. Even if the renovation causes an influx of students, the capacity appears sufficient for the foreseeable future.

Question: If there are more than 70 additional students, how would we accommodate them? Will we have to add classrooms along the new corridor?

Answer: While the planned renovation includes flexibility to utilize various spaces as classrooms if needed, areas that could accommodate classroom additions in future projects will be indicated on the plans going forward.

Question: What is the square footage of the existing school versus the total square footage of the proposed school?

Answer: Using our Application for State Building Aid for this project, the existing school is 56,343 gross square feet. The total square footage of the proposed school is 97,080 gross square feet.

Breakdown:

Question: Has Pelham Memorial School created any problems related to COVID-19 this year?

Answer: Yes. In all three schools, classrooms were outfitted with portable HEPA filters. Pelham Memorial faced additional concerns related to HVAC. We anticipated the need to address the heat in classrooms at the school at the start of the year. In order to provide reasonable temperatures for staff and students, we installed some portable air conditioners. However, PMS’s electrical panels are outdated and at a maximum. Special electrical work was required to expand the capacity at the school. In addition, the tight hallways and bathrooms required additional procedures to be developed to allow students to use the facilities safely. These constraints almost kept us from opening the doors of Pelham Memorial School this fall. 

Question: Why not demolish the existing school and build new?

Answer: It would be more expensive. The construction of a new school was considered and ultimately rejected by the Renovation and Upgrade Committee. The project team explored building a new facility to the rear of the existing school. The cost data proved that the proposed design is the community’s most cost-effective solution.

Question: Have alternative designs been investigated?

Answer: Yes. The Renovation and Upgrade Committee for the Memorial School reviewed several options including building a new school. The Committee reviewed the safety of phasing the project, the extent of the disruption to staff and students, the overall project schedule, and the cost. After investigating all options and weighing the pros and cons, the most efficient, cost-effective, and prudent option was the proposed concept. The cost per square foot has been shown to be less expensive than building a fully new facility.

Question: What is the official documentation explaining why Pelham Memorial School is not a middle school?

Answer: The answer can be found in New Hampshire State Education Rules  Ed 306.26  Kindergarten.  Grade 8 School Curriculum. The rule states, in part, that a middle school must have curriculum in the core areas plus two other areas. First is family and consumer science education (FACS), which was formerly known as home economics. The second is technology and engineering education, which was formerly known as shop class or industrial arts and we refer to as STEAM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Pelham Memorial School does not have the space or the curriculum for those two programs so it is designated as an upper elementary school.

Question: Will the bathrooms and locker rooms provide single user options?

Answer: Yes. In all three bathroom locations, students will have access to single stalls. In the locker rooms, students will have access to single stalls for changing and showering as well. 

Question: I heard that this plan is not complete. Why is it not all worked out? Why does Pelham do it that way?

Answer: The plan is at the typical stage that districts across New Hampshire use to prepare a warrant article for the voters. The plan includes a full set of specifications with pricing.  This allows the District to know what the renovation will include and how much it will cost. In fact, the planning includes a guaranteed maximum price that will include those specifications. A fully realized set of plans would have cost the district up to $2 million.  The Pelham School Board has determined that it would not be financially prudent to spend that amount of money for a plan prior to it being approved by the voters.

Question:  Since it is hard to find staff during the pandemic, will it be hard to find staff for the FACS and STEAM Programs?

Answer: There is no connection between our current hiring challenges and the need for a STEAM teacher and a FACS teacher. We will be able to hire those people.

Question: Will air conditioning and air quality improvements be included?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Will we still have portables?

Answer: No. The renovation will provide space for band, library, and classrooms for health and general music so the portables will not be needed.

Have a question?

Please feel free to ask us anything below. We will provide an answer as soon as possible.

Scroll to Top