Gorham voters to decide on school modulars

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Phil Gagnon

GORHAM — The Town Council Tuesday unanimously approved a June referendum to borrow and spend up to $2.8 million for modular buildings at Narragansett Elementary School.

The referendum will go to voters on June 11. The project would be funded with a 10-year bond. The $2.8 million would be used for site work and for modular buildings housing six classrooms, a common area, bathrooms, utility rooms and a cafeteria.

Resident Phil Gagnon of Gordon Farms was critical of the plan and objected to “corralling kids like cattle” into modular classrooms. Gagnon, a former town councilor and chairman, said the town a few years ago sold a bunch of modulars “for pennies.” 

“Why are we here again asking for modulars? Why is this rush? I have tons of questions,” Gagnon said. 

School officials say the district needs more space to meet the needs of projected K-5 enrollment increases. 

The town has three elementary schools and the modulars would be attached to the rear of Narragansett School because it has the largest site. A Phase 2 of the modular project in three years could cost another $2.8 million.

The modulars would represent a 10- to 15-year mid-range fix before eventually building a new elementary school with potential of state funding.

A Narragansett School ed tech, Janet Kuech, said from the public podium in Tuesday’s meeting pointed out the long-term plan. “I commend the background work that has been done,” Kuech said.

Besides growth in elementary schools, the town is also studying a proposed renovation-expansion project at its aging and overcrowded high school.

In other action, Town Council Vice Chairwoman Suzanne Phillips was named as chair of the Founders’ Festival Committee. Phillips said Wednesday there are no festival details yet.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 780-9089 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.