GORHAM – An exploratory committee saw for the first time Tuesday preliminary architectural plans for construction aimed at alleviating overcrowding on the Gorham High School campus.

Those plans would eliminate four classrooms now housed in outside portable buildings, expand the cafeteria and athletic facilities and provide more parking.

The plan is estimated to cost $11 million, according to Jim Hager, a school committee member.

Peter Anderson of PDT Architects in Portland said Wednesday the plans provide basic information to the exploratory committee studying the cramped high school.

“None of this is carved in stone,” Anderson said.

No plans have been approved yet and approval by Gorham voters in a referendum would be required for the project.

The school, last renovated 15 years ago to house 750 students at a cost of $11 million, would be upgraded to accommodate 850 students under the plan presented Tuesday. Principal Chris Record said at Tuesday’s meeting the present enrollment is 879. But long-term projections are for enrollment numbers to decline, and expansion plans have been scaled back from those that originally used an estimate of 900 students.

A design for 50 less students reduced additions from 27,923 square feet to 21,092.

A primary two-story addition is proposed for the north end of the high school and wrapping around the west side of the gym. The addition would include two new locker rooms on the first floor, replacing two existing ones. The athletic department would also get a new fitness area and laundering space along with rooms for a trainer, officials and storage.

The second floor of the addition would have three new classrooms, two science rooms and two seminar rooms, which Anderson described as smaller classrooms.

The gym and auditorium will remain the same.

Under the plan, a cafeteria expansion would be built towards the present portable classroom buildings and the existing cafeteria space would be spruced up. A skylight for the cafeteria and a new terrace for nicer weather would be new features.

“All the portables go away,” Anderson said Wednesday.

The administration offices would be relocated from the Morrill Avenue end of the building to space near the new entrance near the present auditorium. Changes would also provide for a security station off the lobby. Relocating the main office would allow a larger space for the nurse.

The high school campus is hemmed in by roads and a residential area. “This is a relatively small site,” Lyndon Keck of PDT Architects said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The building doesn’t have a lot of elbow space.”

Campus parking has been squeezed but would be revamped under the latest plan. Reconfiguring parallel parking to perpendicular and adding some more parking areas would add up to 203 more spaces. Parking would be spread among various locations around the campus, including on-street parking.

For additional athletic fields, Keck said land off Access Road could be available. The plan would relocate a softball field and include a 200-by-360-foot practice field.

The exploratory committee is to meet next in Novemeber.

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