This rendering depicts the planned facade of Yarmouth Elementary School. Courtesy Harriman architects

YARMOUTH — After reviewing plans for renovations and additions to each of the town’s four schools, the Planning Board is expected to give final approval to the elementary and middle school projects when it meets Wednesday, Aug. 14.

This drawing shows the new exterior elevation at Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. Courtesy Harriman architects

The board has already approved plans for William H. Rowe School and Yarmouth High School.

The Yarmouth Elementary School project is the largest and most expensive of the construction projects.

It’s estimated to cost $27.3 million and will nearly double the size of the current building, mainly due to a  plan to move the fifth grade from Frank H. Harrison Middle School to the new elementary school.

Faced with increasing school enrollments, Yarmouth voters last year approved borrowing $52 million for the construction projects.

Superintendent of Schools Andrew Dolloff has said he hopes bid documents for all four school projects will be ready no later than the end of August. The goal is to award the elementary and middle school projects together, while requesting separate packages for the Rowe and high school projects.

Dolloff said the School Department would like to break ground at Rowe by October. That would be followed by the high school in November or December, and the elementary and middle schools in January 2020, with work continuing simultaneously at all four schools.

Harriman architects of Portland is designing each of the schools. At the July 10 Planning Board meeting, lead architect Wendi Holden said once it’s completed the elementary school is projected to have an initial enrollment of 612 students.

The elementary school project consists mainly of a nearly 50,000-square-foot, two-story addition that will include new classrooms and a new gym. The current school building will also have significant renovations, with a more secure and larger entryway and a second band and art room.

The addition will have 11 new regular classrooms, as well as specialty spaces for science, technology, engineering, art and math, as well as English language learner, foreign language, math and literacy classes. It will provide dedicated space for other programs, including speech, and occupational and physical therapy, and include two learning centers and faculty workrooms.

In designing the building Holden said architects “really listened to the community, as well as staff and the administration” about their hopes for the new elementary school. She said the exterior will include “figurative architecture” in the design of trees and birds to better help break up the facade and add character and charm to the building.

Planning Board member Matt Schumacher praised the elementary school plans at the July 10 meeting, telling Holden “you and your team have put together a fantastic project.”

The Harrison Middle School project is expected to cost $5.2 million. It’s the least complicated and will have the least impact on the site, according to Harriman engineer Frank Crabtree.

The biggest change at the middle school, planners were told, is there is no longer a need for a fire lane behind the school, so Harriman is proposing a 6-foot walkway that would connect the school and the many paths students take from surrounding neighborhoods.

Once the project is complete and the fifth grade has moved to the elementary school, enrollment at the middle school is expected to drop to 479 students, which will eliminate the need for two modular classrooms, Holden said.

The middle school will get a two-story addition, as well as a new, more secure front vestibule. The addition will consist of three new classrooms, along with learning support spaces for math, literacy, speech, and English language learner programs.


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