Think Outside The Box on Middle School

Contributed by Ted Mahoney
Monday, 25 September 2006
Seizing the Pierce Trust ballfield to expand the middle school would involve an expensive and divisive legal, environmental, and cultural battle, with the fallback the Jones Avenue site. Perhaps the school board should think outside the box on this one. The new vocational education school is being built at Pease Tradeport. That will leave the old campus in Stratham vacant, and likely easily adapted to being a middle school. It is large, centrally located and could serve the entire school district.Looks like the battlefield for a new middle school will be the ballfield on the Peirce trust land. If so, the word “trust” will be given another meaning to add to the seven or eight it now has, one that should give pause to anyone thinking of invoking it. Losing a ballfield is a strange way to reward our Little League champs, but then they are yesterday’s news.

The School Board set the battle plan when it exercised its authority and rejected any changes to the old concept of a middle school. Seems the National Association of Middle Schools is a bigger league. So be it.

The problem remains as to where to put it given the standards enacted by the state with the help of the NEA and other unions. So we are looking at a long and divisive legal, environmental and cultural battle over the Peirce trust ballfield. This Plan A has a fallback to Plan B, which is the Jones Avenue site.

There is no other place unless the city chooses to take one by eminent domain.

This School Board decision has locked the city in a box. Logic would dictate that the only solution for both parties is to locate outside the city, which would placate both needs, but irritate others.

There may be one glimmer of hope. The new vocational education school is being built at Pease Tradeport. That will leave the old campus in Stratham vacant. Surely that school can be adapted to being a middle school. It is large, centrally located and could serve the entire school district. It may even be big enough to get the School Board out of Little Harbour School so they can have more room too.

This means the City Council and the School Board have to think outside the box, excuse the poor pun. Well it’s a full count. Who’s up next? Ted Mahoney

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