Upgrades Needed For Mascoma Valley Regional High School To Keep Accreditation

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 01/15 2014 06:27PM

Updated 01/16 2014 07:50PM

CANAAN, Nh.- Voters will soon decide on a $21.5 million dollar bond for renovations at the Mascoma Valley Regional High School in in New Hampshire. A similar proposal failed twice for the school that serves five towns in Grafton County. Now the school board hopes the third times a charm.

A quick look inside doesn't reveal any obvious need for upgrades.
But the Mascoma Valley Regional High School hides its age well.
 “It's 51 years old, and never had any significant work,” said Dave Shinnlinger, a teacher at the high school.
But those who work and study here say it needs it.
“It needs a new roof regardless of the vote. It needs a new septic system, it needs infrastructure, and it needs plumbing,” adds Shinnlinger.
That's why a 21.5 million dollar project will go to a vote for a third time in March.
The newest proposal is about $300,000 less than the last one.
“Some of the alarm systems needed to be replaced- and those were replaced last summer. But some of the other things like sprinkler systems, that's part of the plan in this renovations,” said Patrick Andrew, Mascoma Valley Regional Superintendent.
Right now there only one way to access the high school and the middle school that sits behind it. Not only would the renovations improve the traffic flow between the two schools, it would also address the issue of safety.
“If you come at 7:45 a.m. or 3pm. you can really see it's congested,” said Shinnlinger.
Better access to the schools would allow emergency crews to get through if needed.
But that's not all Shinnlinger says the high school is at risk of losing its accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
“We could have as short as two years before they pull accreditation - that’s the worst case scenario- but it’s possible,” said Shinnlinger.
To meet the standards the school needs more space to accommodate modern science classrooms, larger art rooms, a bigger cafeteria, and a separate auditorium and gym.
“There’s a scheduled gym class right now- but they are meeting in the cafeteria because they are setting up for a middle school concert,” said Shinnlinger.
And Shinnlinger says that happens at least 16 times a year.
The superintendent says he believes the vote failed in the past because people didn't truly understand the need for the upgrades. 
When it comes to the property tax increase associated with the bond- each town would see a different percentage increase based on how many students from that town attend the school.
For more information on how the tax increase could affect you- click here.
The bond proposal goes up for a vote on March 11th.

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