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North Yarmouth Memorial School Update, Q&As and Proposed GMS Site Plan

posted Nov 16, 2012, 12:41 PM by Susan Conley   [ updated May 21, 2013, 8:53 AM by Dawna Green ]

•   NYMS Q&As

• Proposed Greely Middle School Reconfiguration and Site plans 12/17/2012
May be requested by calling or emailing Joyce Megathlin (829-4815 or jmegathlin@msad51.org


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November 15, 2012


Dear MSAD #51 Community,

The School Board discussion regarding the proposed closure of the North Yarmouth Memorial School will resume in the coming weeks, and therefore it is important to provide all stakeholders with accurate and timely information related to that issue.  Please find a summary of action regarding NYMS to date below.  The Board will conduct a workshop next Monday, November 19, 2012. Members of the general public are invited to attend that workshop, however it is not a public hearing.

North Yarmouth Memorial School Overview

In 2009, the MSAD #51 Board of Directors, aware of declining enrollment data, focused attention upon the effective use of physical structures in the District, and analyzed how those structures impact student achievement and economic sustainability.  The BOD commissioned a Sustainability Task Force comprised of Board members, administrators, teachers, students, representatives from town governments of North Yarmouth and Cumberland and at-large representatives from the two communities.

The Task Force was charged with developing a set of recommendations that “optimize the relationship between District assets, student achievement and costs.”  To formulate its recommendations, the Task Force examined enrollment projections and patterns, analyzed the function and structures of the District's buildings, studied the costs associated with the operation of the District's instructional facilities and outlined goals for student achievement.

Recommendations of the Sustainability Task Force

Following months of review of relevant data and interviews/discussions with community stakeholders, the Task Force developed the following core principles to guide all recommendations:

·         Reducing the number of student transitions;
·         Maximizing the utilization of the District’s best facilities;
·         Retaining District assets and repurposing them as necessary and appropriate, and
·         Continuing the pursuit of consolidation opportunities.

Using these key principles, the Task Force presented four recommendations that were presented to the public for questions and comment, and consequently approved by the BOD.

1.      Reconfigure grades to reduce transitions and more effectively utilize our learning facilities.  Relocate 3rd grade to the Mabel I Wilson School and repurpose the Drowne Road School.

Cumberland voters subsequently approved a proposal to close the Drowne Road School and to repurpose the building as a senior living facility. Complete with 38 affordable handicapped-accessible apartments, the facility is aimed at providing housing for some of 150 elderly people on the town's waiting list.  The developer of the project has a 99 year lease of the building from the town for an acquisition fee of $480K paid to the Town of Cumberland.

2.       Gather baseline data to inform future facilities recommendations by commissioning an architectural and engineering study of the North Yarmouth Memorial School.

A thorough review the mechanical and electrical systems, air quality, and structural fitness of North Yarmouth Memorial School was conducted in June, 2010.  That review concluded that due to aging systems and poor construction, the building was “at the end of its useful life.”

3.      Create a community action group to examine current district and community assets and identify ways to leverage those assets.

The North Yarmouth Memorial Task force was formed in 2011.

4.      Explore new opportunities and possibilities for a 21st Century Maine by investigating new collaboration and consolidation options with other districts, communities and private entities that add value to the district and achieve cost savings.

In 2011-12, the BOD commissioned the Strategic Thinking and Planning Committee and the Yarmouth/MSAD 51 Task Force.


Application to the State of Maine for subsidized improvement of NYMS

In June, 2010, MSAD #51 submitted an application to the State of Maine to request subsidized improvements to the North Yarmouth Memorial School. The State of Maine Department of Education conducted a site visit, evaluating our application relative to those submitted from other public schools in Maine. The Department of Education rated each potential project and created a priority list with the projects with the greatest need highest on the list. NYMS was placed 65th of the 71 applications received, thereby resulting in a low priority status for State funding


Establishment of the North Yarmouth School Task Force

In the fall of 2011, the MSAD #51 BOD established a task force charged with reviewing data and recommending a course of action regarding the future of the North Yarmouth Memorial School.  The nine-member task force was comprised of six residents of North Yarmouth and three from Cumberland including, an NYMS administrator, a NYMS faculty member, current North Yarmouth and Cumberland parents, two MSAD# 51 Board members and was assisted by the Superintendent and by the Director of Finance. Over the course of several months, the Task Force met regularly and minutes were posted online. The group’s meetings were open to the general public, however were not public hearings.

The Task Force explored the operations and characteristics of NYMS and identified its strengths (excellent professional development, high student achievement, strong sense of community, location in the Town of North Yarmouth), shortcomings (poor physical design and space limitations, because of small student population many support staff are part-time, the electrical system does not support increased technology integration, extremely limited library space), operational and maintenance costs (the facility has higher operational costs due to the age and type of construction).

Recommendations of the NYMS Task Force

Using the data evaluated, the NYMS Task Force considered nine distinct options:

1.      Continue operations at current facility with elevated expenses;

2.      Renovation of current facility estimated at $5.1 million cost;

3.      Construction of new facility at current site at a $10.5 million cost;

4.      Close facility and absorb 4th grade in MIW and 5th grade into GMS with estimated $3.75 million renovation of MIW cost with no change to GMS;

5.      Close facility and absorb 4th grade in MIW and 5th grade into GMS with estimated $3.75 million renovation of MIW and $1million addition of classrooms to GMS;

6.      Close current facility and absorb 4th and 5th grade into GMS with no structural changes;

7.      Close current facility and absorb 4th and 5th grades into GMS with addition of four additional classrooms at estimated $1 million cost;

8.      Close current facility and absorb 4th and 5th grades into GMS with additions to the cafeteria and construction of 2nd floor library addition at $950,000 estimated cost;

9.      Close current facility and absorb 4th and 5th grades into GMS with addition of four classrooms (estimated cost $1 million) and addition of cafeteria and 2nd floor library (estimated cost $950,000).

After deliberation on each of those recommendations, the Task Force’s final recommendation is that the current NYMS facility is to be closed and the student population be relocated to the Middle School following the construction of a 4,000 sq ft two-story addition to the cafeteria and library, and a 4,000 sq ft addition of instructional space housing four new classrooms.

The MSAD #51 BOD will discuss and vote on the recommendation that was proposed by the Task Force.

Timeline for BOD action on the North Yarmouth Memorial School

November 19, 2012, 7:00pm Greely High School Library, Board Workshop
Mark Girard, the chair of the NYMS Task Force, will repeat the presentation to the BOD provided last spring and will address BOD member questions.

December 3, 2012, 7:00pm Greely High School Library, Public Hearing
Members of the MSAD #51 are invited to ask questions or express views regarding the NYMS recommendation.

December 17, 2012, 7:00pm Greely High School Library, Board Meeting
Members of the MSAD #51 community have a second opportunity to ask questions or provide input on the proposal.  Members of the BOD will vote on the recommendation that has been proposed.