Frequently Asked Questions
Please see the following list of frequent asked questions (FAQ) received by the Building Committee. Check back frequently as new question continue to be added. Click on an item below to expand a featured FAQ, or view a comprehensive list of FAQs organized by topic.
- Why do we need this project?
- What groundwork has been laid for this project to justify it?
- Will the portables still be needed for other uses even if the 6th grade moves to Wentworth?
- How can the public comment during this process?
- Was renovating the three schools and building a fourth school considered?
- Where is the project going? Has a site been determined?
- What is the solution?
Why do we need this project?
What groundwork has been laid for this project to justify it?
In 2014, a Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) was developed to study the needs and goals of the District’s school facilities.
- 7 options were considered.
- Only Options 4 and 6 were recommended, with Option 4 being favored by the LRFP Committee.
Option 4: Keep all 3 primary schools open and upgrade facilities.
Option 6: Close Pleasant Hill, move 2nd graders to Wentworth, distribute K-1 between Blue Point and Eight Corners.
- In the end, the LRFP suggested a wait-and-see approach to verify population trends at the primary level for a few years before taking action, and in the meantime, the District would do upgrades to the three primary schools to improve their energy efficiency.
In 2017 another study was done to analyze the impact on facilities with population growth. This process included:
- Analysis of population projections
- Meetings with Administrators to determine the adequacy of space for the existing and projected population
- Created a list of rooms and staffing needs
- Generated 8 options for solving the needs. That list was further narrowed down to two options for detailed analysis and comparison.
- Developed site plans and floor plans with preliminary cost estimates for the two options (B and F).
Option B: Renovate existing K-2 primary schools on their existing sites, right size SMS and keep grades 6-8. This includes 5% growth contingency.
Option F: Create a new consolidated PK-3 primary school, move 6th grade to Wentworth with no expansion. This includes 5% growth contingency.
- Compared the cost of building and operating Options B and F in 2017 dollars.
- A presentation was given to the School Board on October 16, 2017 that outlined the study process, gave an overview of the 8 options, summarized the findings of Options B and F, and gave the status of DOE funding applications.
- The School Board voted on January 23, 2020 to “approve the SPS Building Steering Committee’s recommendation of a consolidated primary school,” with an amendment to include “…while planning for the future needs of our entire district.”
The vote was approved 5-2, with student reps voting 2-0.
Will the portables still be needed for other uses even if the 6th grade moves to Wentworth?
How can the public comment during this process?
Periodic community forums will be held throughout the process where community members will be invited to learn about the project and ask questions or provide feedback.
Our next community forum will be held on October 12th, with both a daytime session (12pm) and an evening session (6:30pm). Please check back on the website for more details as we get closer.
The public may also submit questions and comments via the “Contact Us” button on this website.
Was renovating the three schools and building a fourth school considered?
This option has been considered; however, several factors prevent it from being a viable option.
- 9-12 Year Renovation Timeline
If renovation of the existing K-2 campuses were to occur, the addition and core spaces would need to accommodate third grade as well in order to address the needs of the overall K-8 population. If schools were to be renovated while occupied, the process could take approximately 30-36 months to renovate each school, and additional portables would need to be brought in for swing space. Since there is no space on the existing K-2 campuses for additional portables, students would need to be relocated to a remote site from the school. This would mean students entering Kindergarten at the start of construction would be in a school under construction for most, if not all, of their primary school years.
The steps and timeline for building a fourth school and renovating/expanding the existing three schools while not occupied would be approximately as follows:
- Site Selection and Concept Design of all four schools – approximately 20 months
- Design and Construction Documents for Renovations and Expansion and New School – approximately 12-24 months
- Construct New School – approximately 24-30 months
- Move students and staff from School # 1 to New School during the summer
- Renovate/-Expand School #1 – approximately 18-24 months
- Move students back into School #1 during the summer
- Move students and staff from School #2 to New School during the summer
- Renovate/Expand School #2 – approximately 18-24 months
- Move students back into School #2 during the summer
- Move students and staff from School #3 to New School
- Renovate/Expand School #3 – approximately 18-24 months
- Move students back into School #3 during the summer
- Redistrict students among the four schools
The approximate total timeline for building a fourth school and renovating/expanding the existing three schools while unoccupied would be 110 months (9+ years) to 146 months (12+ years), versus 48 months (4 years) to 60 months (5 years) months to construct a consolidated school.
- Educational Program and Operating Inefficiencies
Building a fourth school would not provide the educational and operational efficiency of consolidating the primary schools. The K-3 consolidation provides a solution to address the overcrowding at the Middle School by moving the 6th grade to Wentworth and the 3rd grade to the primary schools. Depending on the site selected, this solution could remove a grade level from the existing central campus, which would help to alleviate traffic.
- Limited/Short Term Solution
Each of the three existing primary schools are situated on very small parcels bounded primarily by private residential lots. With no possibility of adding/acquiring additional acreage at the existing schools, expanding each school enough to accommodate the student population in the future years becomes impossible. Even with the addition of the fourth school, significant transportation and logistical challenges would likely arise, resulting in the need for redistricting and potentially shifting of grades to the 4th school to allow sufficient space at the renovated schools.
The impact to the students’ learning environment, duration and cost of construction, redistricting, and educational and operational inefficiency realized by operating four primary schools makes this an unviable option.
Where is the project going? Has a site been determined?
On April 25, 2023—after many months evaluating 46 potential sites across Scarborough, the Building Committee unanimously voted to recommend to the Scarborough School Board that the unified primary school site be located at the Scarborough Downs site.
On April 27, 2023, the Scarborough School Board unanimously voted to endorse the recommended site at the Scarborough Downs.
Next, the site recommendation goes to Town Council to vote whether to authorize the Town Manager to enter negotiations with the land owner.
The site selection process cast a wide net across the town of Scarborough to identify sites that were close to or above the recommended buildable acreage of 25 acres.
The criteria were used to conduct multiple tiers of screening:
- Tier 1: Looks at dozens of sites and narrows it to the top dozen or so sites.
- Tier 2: Looks at approximately a dozen sites and narrows it to approximately three to four sites.
- Tier 3: Looks at approximately three to four sites and narrows it to approximately one or two sites and ultimately the recommended site or sites.
Site Selection Criteria included the following (in no particular order):
- Location/Future Expansion
- Traffic/Transportation Safety
- Public Services
- Community Involvement
- Local (Community) Criteria
Local (Community) Criteria included the following parameters, as defined by the Building Committee and participants in the 6/6/22 Community Forum:
- Within a 1.5 mile radius of Municipal Campus / Centralized Location.
- Equitable bus ride times for students and impact to equipment.
- On or proximity to (abutting) Municipal Campus.
- Family-friendly/non-industrial approach and sense of arrival.
- Easy access to green space.
- Cell phone service.
- Good site security
For more information about the site selection process, the recordings and meeting materials from the April 25, 2023 Building Committee meeting (Password: z.64g^iX) and April 27, 2023 School Board meeting provide a summary overview of the process, site selection criteria, and community-defined criteria.
For more detailed information about the site selection process, watch the recording from the April 13, 2023 Community Forum #4: Site Selection (Password: B3a5aB+e) or review the PowerPoint Presentation.
What is the solution?
- A K-8 strategic solution that provides educational equity by:
- Building a new consolidated K-3 primary school
- Reorganizing the grade levels at the Middle School and Wentworth School (shifting the 3 rd grade from Wentworth to the new consolidated primary school, and the 6 th grade from the Middle School to Wentworth), to eliminate overcrowding at the Middle School.
How is this achieved?
- Create one school for K-3 students that supports a school-within-a-school model—providing small learning communities within the overall school, equitable services, and increased program time for all K-3 students.
- Eliminate overcrowding at the Middle School by moving 6 th grade from the Middle School to Wentworth and 3 rd grade from Wentworth to the new consolidated K-3 elementary school. This removes a grade level from the Middle School and maintains the same number of grades at Wentworth. The 6 th grade is currently in portables at the middle school and accesses the school building for gym classes, lunch, library, and specialist programming. Reducing the grade levels will help to alleviate overcrowding of hallways and core programming and could also have a positive impact on vehicular congestion and pedestrian safety during pick-up/drop-off. The solution includes removing the 12 portable classrooms at middle school and renovations to a handful of middle school building spaces to accommodate missing program spaces. Eliminate all 30 portables in the Scarborough School District. This includes 12 at the middle school and 18 at the three primary schools.
- The schools would remain in their existing configurations until the new school is built and ready for occupancy. Based on a successful Fall 2023 referendum, the anticipated occupancy date is school year 2027/2028.
- Existing primary schools and their sites become town-owned property to address other town needs that will be defined by the town at a later date. These potential uses could include: open green space, parks, athletic fields, community services, early childhood educational centers, or other uses.
What are the Benefits?
- District Wide Solution:
Addresses overcrowding – Sustainable solution to house our current and growing population.
Educational Equity – Provides the same programming for everyone in similar grade levels.
Special Education – Global approach to Special Education programming and inclusive classrooms.
Future Ready – Allows the District to build in flexibility to accommodate educational delivery of tomorrow.
Flexible – Ability to manage the ebb and flow of different size grades as they move through the schools.
Efficiency – educational and operational efficiency.
Storage - The new school would allow us to have the appropriate amount of storage so that staff members can access educational materials without having it stored offsite.
Facility equity – Solves facility inadequacies and inefficiencies.
- Safety and Security
- Global approach – A new building provides the opportunity to build the building to today’s safety and security best practices—looking at the macro (site) to the micro (classroom) and everything in between.
- Site circulation – Adequate and separate parent and bus drop-off as well as adequate parking.
- One building – Eliminates temporary portables and vulnerability of traveling from portable to main building.
- Play areas – Positioned away from the street and site traffic.
- Student Experience:
- Program equity – With one dedicated school building per phase (K-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12) level throughout the district, students have equal access to programming.
- Environmental Quality – Global approach to Indoor Air Quality, Daylighting, and Energy Efficiency
- Occupant Comfort – Air conditioning can be integrated into the design of the school, similar to Wentworth, which allows students to focus on learning.
- Eliminates temporary portable classrooms – Locates all students in properly insulated and acoustically separated spaces conducive to learning. It also locates all students in one building and not segregated from the school building. It eliminates students having to travel outside to get to their educational programming.
- Maintain the small school feel – Creates small classroom communities within the overall school. Adequate program space allows the District to maintain a low teacher-to- student ratio.
- Fully accessible – ADA, Special Education Programming, and inclusive classrooms.
- Connection to the outdoors – Adequate outdoor play and learning space.
- Quality of Programming:
- Adequate program space – Provides a separate Gym and Cafeteria (currently one space). This will eliminate set up and break down time between programs that share the space. This separation results in increased program time for students.
- 21st century learning – Allows space to support these learning and teaching methods. This includes spaces such as STEM, STEAM, and hands on learning.
- Social Emotional Learning – Allows space to support the whole child.
- Educational synergy – Having all grade level educators in one location allows for more collaboration, synergy, and consistency in instruction. More Efficient Use of Staff Resources – Specialists no longer need to travel between schools. This will increase the student’s ability to access a specialist.
- Site Amenities:
- Connection to the outdoors – This is site and location dependent; however, a well-located and properly sized site will allow for opportunities to celebrate the natural features of Scarborough, and provide adequately sized play areas, nature trails, and outdoor learning.
- Safe – Adequate and safe site circulation.
- Future Ready – Space to accommodate future additions if necessary
- Site Size – Some aspects of traffic are site-dependent. However, a new school on an adequately sized lot allows for adequate bus and car queuing and separate bus and parent drop off.
- Site location – If located off the municipal campus, the solution would eliminate a grade from the municipal campus, which will help alleviate some of the existing Middle School and campus traffic concerns.
- Operational efficiency and cost savings – The K-2 schools cost approximately 50% more per square foot to operate than Wentworth School, which is fully air conditioned.
- Improved energy efficiency – Higher R-values of the building envelope. New highly energy efficient MEPS building systems. 100% of the building will meet current energy codes.
FAQs by Topic
The Scarborough School Department has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), organized by topic. To navigate to a specific topic, select one of the link below, or click to view the full FAQ document.