Dennis-Yarmouth Selectmen Review Plans for New Middle School

YARMOUTH – Dennis and Yarmouth selectmen joined district finance committees on Tuesday to review plans for a new school to be built in South Yarmouth for grades 4-7.

The review focused on construction costs and how the school would be organized.

According to current plans, the school would be able to accommodate 940 students at a cost of $109 million.

If built, the school is expected to be located behind the elementary school on Station Avenue and close to Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and the administration building.

“Our site plan, it hasn’t changed substantially, but it’s changed in the details,” architect Robert Bell said to district officials.

“As you may remember, the new building is planned to be a one and two story with associated fields that have been determined are the usable outdoor space needs for the school.”

Bell also says that the usable outdoor space surrounding the school would provide outdoor areas for educational and recreational activities.

“We have two major play areas. Each one of them is grade-level appropriate for 4-5 or 6-7. We also have outdoor learning spaces. These are protected courtyards that are intended to be used as maker-space and science labs,” said Bell.

“We’ve incorporated an outdoor amphitheater space, which means we’ve rotated the auditorium. The stage is positioned so it can open to the auditorium but it could also potentially open to the outdoor amphitheater.”

Bell added that parking plans would provide space for 250 cars within the lot. He says the lot would provide all of the parking that is needed for Station Avenue and the new facility.

Some discussion also surrounded a plan to designate separate administration areas for varying grade levels in the new school.

D-Y Superintendent Carol Woodbury says that having the grades under one roof in the new building and in close proximity to Station Avenue Elementary School will not only allow for better interaction between students, but teachers as well.

“Curriculum happens on a continuum from grade to grade. So, when we have opportunities for teachers [to get together], either after school faculty meetings or other sorts of things, there are opportunities right within the building. They don’t have to drive across town and waste that period of time to get together,” said Woodbury.

The project would also be eligible for over $61 million in reimbursements from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

A public forum discussing the plans for the new school is scheduled for Monday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m. at Mattacheese Middle School in West Yarmouth. The public will be able to ask elected officials questions and review the project.

The district will vote on funding the new school on December 4.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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