STRATHAM – Cooperative Middle School deputy principal Bill Perkins said that with the completion of the school’s expansion, the SAU 16 community has come full circle since its six communities formed the cooperative in the middle. from the 1990s.
“It’s really good that this project is done,” said Perkins, who co-chaired the CMS Building Renewal Committee. “The thing about this community is that it has always been at the origin of the education of children and this renovation really shows it. When this school was first built, it was the crown jewel of SAU 16, but it was never completed. We built a new secondary school, renovated the main street school (in Exeter), so it finally came back to this building. It reminds the community why they formed the cooperative.
On Wednesday afternoon, school officials, community members, CMS staff and students cut the ribbon to mark the official completion of the college’s $ 17.8 million expansion in 100 Academic Way.
The new space includes 10 new classrooms, a new kitchen, a new cafeteria and a new multipurpose room, and alleviates overcrowding issues while providing modernized areas to meet today’s education needs.
The project was approved by voters in the six communities of SAU 16 in 2019. The expansion added 38,000 square feet to the school while renovating 22,200 square feet of existing space.
June 2020:Construction begins on a $ 17.8 million cooperative middle school project
“We are thrilled to have the space for our college students to learn and thrive,” said SAU 16 Superintendent David Ryan. “We appreciate the support of this project from our school board and the community for the much needed expansion that will allow us to improve the teaching and learning environment for our children.
More space to learn
A major element of the project was the additional learning space.
The school’s students are grouped into 12 teams (four per year), but before the expansion there was only enough room for 10 of the 12 teams.
As part of the project, two new pods and 10 classrooms were added to the second floor of the school allowing each team to have their own space.
Each module is made up of five classrooms and a common area with lockers, an office area, a conference room and a group meeting space in the middle. Additional areas have been created for teachers and administrative offices and properly equipped spaces for special education services, such as a resource room, behavior room and specialized toilets for students with reduced mobility.
Another benefit of the project is the new, state-of-the-art 6,900 square foot cafeteria, with a new kitchen, which has been expanded to include a 4,200 square foot outdoor patio for lunch and study groups.
Previously, due to space constraints, the school had to start lunch periods as early as 10 a.m. and had to organize six lunch periods.
Acting manager Eris Hersey said lunch was reduced to three periods starting at 11 a.m. She said the students enjoyed having lunch outside on the enlarged back patio.
“All kids at a grade level eat together,” Hersey said. “The two new pods… were decisive. Each group of children has a zone to call home and the school is really a second for the children, so it really gives them the opportunity to have a home base.
Prior to construction, CMS had a small physical education room that forced some programs to use hallway space, causing hallways to become overcrowded. Through this project, a new gymnasium foyer was built to allow for more space and multiple sports at the same time while improving locker room facilities including showers and bathrooms.
“Grateful” to the community
Paul Bauer, vice chairman of the Exeter Area Co-operative School Board and chairman of its facilities committee, said he was delighted to see the students able to make full use of the new spaces.
“I am delighted that students and staff are now taking advantage of the renovated areas to provide education to students,” said Bauer, of Newfields. “I am very grateful to the renewal committee and also to the community members who supported this project. It is really a good thing for our students.
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Construction took just over a year, starting in June 2020. Harvey Construction in Bedford carried out the construction while Maine-based architecture and engineering firm Harriman oversaw the design.
The Cooperative Middle School, part of SAU 16, was originally built in 1998 and serves sixth, seventh and eighth graders from Brentwood, Exeter, East Kingston, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham.