Town looks at feasibility of addition

Merrimack mulls construction plans for potential expansion

MERRIMACK – The Merrimack School District plans to reach out to an architectural firm with the goal of developing a feasibility report about the potential construction of an addition onto Merrimack High School that would house the district’s administrative and special education offices.

In in its recommendations submitted to the School District in December, the Planning Board advised the district look into the possibility as one of several potential options.

“All options should be considered for the consolidation of special

services/SAU offices, including consideration of an addition to the high school in place of the current building,” the recommendations said.

Assistant Superintendent Matt Shevenell that because the School District has a longstanding relationship with the engineering firm, the study would likely be free or $4,000 at most.

But several members of the School Board expressed concern that the project would be more expensive than building a standalone building because the older parts of the building would have to be brought up to code.

“If you add to the high school, there’s a chance you’ll have to retrofit the entire high school based on the codes,” board member Michael Thompson said July 17.

“We’re talking three, four grand to do something that’s possibly useless. If you can do something for free, go nuts. But I cannot approve three to four grand on something that I think will be wasted money.”

Vice Chairman Andy Schneider acknowledged Thompson’s point, but said the district should fulfill the Planning Board’s will to conduct the study.

“If we do not jump this hurdle, they will block us,” Schneider said.

Shevenell said he will do what he can to bring down the cost of the study.

He said the study would include a full review of all parts of the building that would have to be brought up to code.

Derek Edry can be reached at 594-1243, or @Telegraph_Derek.