RSU 10 committee reviews possible building closures, restructurings

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DIXFIELD — A special Regional School Unit 10 Buildings and Grounds Committee, along with an architect, have released a series of three options for the restructuring or closure of several of the district’s 11 buildings.

All three options include the closure of Rumford Elementary School, the Central Office building and the Pennacook Learning Center.

The report comes following many months of study and investigation of each building by the committee and architect.

“We need to have this conversation and have a plan for the future,” Superintendent Craig King said.

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Public forums set to hear concerns, comments and other ideas have been set for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28, at Mountain Valley High School, on Feb. 2 at Dirigo High School and on Feb. 10 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.

The architect who studied each building will be in attendance to answer questions.

King said other options may emerge from the forums.

He said the newsletter describing the three options was mailed to every resident of RSU 10 several weeks in advance of the first public forum to give people a chance to become familiar with the options to be considered.

The three options are:

Option 1: Closing Mountain Valley Middle School, along with the three buildings already listed; housing all 600 Mountain Valley-region students in grades seven through 12 at MVHS, which would require a renovation; housing all 400 Dirigo Middle School and Dirigo High School students at DHS, which would require an expansion; housing all 664 RES and Meroby Elementary School prekindergarten to grade six students at MES, which would require an expansion at MES; maintaining 240 students in grades seven-12 at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School and all 313 elementary students at Hartford-Sumner Elementary School.

Option 2: Closing RES, Pennacook and the Central Office building; maintaining BJSHS and Hartford-Sumner Elementary School; housing all Dirigo-region grades seven-12 at DHS; housing all Mountain Valley region prekindergarten to grade three students at MES; housing all Mountain Valley-region fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at MVMS; housing the Pennacook program and Central Office at DMS.

Option 3: Closing MVMS, along with RES, Pennacook, and the Central Office building; maintaining BJSHS and HSES; housing all Mountain Valley- and Dirigo-region grade six through eight students at DHS; housing all Mountain Valley region prekindergarten to fifth-grade students at MES; housing all Dirigo and Mountain Valley high school students at MVHS; moving the Central Office and Pennacook program to DMS.

King said some staffing and administrative changes would be likely.

He said financial details have not yet been worked out, but can wait until the most viable option or options are selected. Each option would still save the district money, he said.

“Any kind of change is hard, with emotional ties to schools. That’s another reason why the newsletter is out three or four weeks before the first forum. I want residents to read this document and discuss it,” he said.

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