Artisti's rendering of the exterior of new school

ROCHESTER -- The Joint Building Committee is sharing schematic drawings of a new K-5 elementary school and a general update in its continuing effort to keep the community informed.

City and school officials moved forward with a plan to build a new 68,000-square-foot school on Salmon Falls Road. The school will house about 420 students, ease overcrowding at other schools, and improve educational equity for students.

Under the proposed design, the first floor will include the library, cafeteria, gymnasium, rooms dedicated to music and art, and special education class space. Classrooms will include natural lighting and materials, flexible space, and state-of-the-art technology.

The second floor includes a dozen classrooms and additional special education spaces.

The project will not cross wetlands and will retain buffer zones. Concerns about drainage will be addressed through water retention and mitigation systems at the entrance and near the rear of the property.

The school project is anticipated to cost about $33.6 million. The Rochester City Council voted on Oct. 18 to approve funding of $15.5 million toward the school. The State Department of Education ranked the Rochester project at the top of the funding list in the 2024 cycle, and is providing $15.77 million in support.

Project plans will be forwarded to the City’s Technical Review Committee for its independent review. The project design team will complete bidding and construction documents by the end of February, with the goal of soliciting public bids in March.

The Joint Building Committee will meet in April to review cost estimates.

The Committee also plans to solicit suggestions for a school name and building mascot, possibly through naming contests. The Committee will update the community as these plans take shape.

Information including site plans from the Jan. 10 meeting of the Joint Building Committee may be found here.

About the Joint Building Committee
The Joint Building Committee is charged with overseeing the development and construction of a new K-5 Elementary School. School Board Member Sarah Harrington serves as Chair, while City Councilor Donald Hamann serves as Vice Chair. Also serving are Mayor Paul Callaghan, City Councilors Alexander de Geofroy, Tim Fontneau and Kevin Sullivan, and School Board members Matt Beaulieu and Matt Pappas. The School Board Chair will appoint two School Board representatives, as a result of recent elections.

The Committee meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14. The public is invited to attend and participate during the open comment period.

Meetings are recorded and are available on both the School Department website and SAU 54 YouTube channel.


Artist's rendering of the building exterior. (Photo Courtesy Rochester School Department)

Artist's rendering of the lobby. (Photo Courtesy Rochester School Department)

Artist's rendering of the lobby. (Photo Courtesy Rochester School Department)

Artist's rendering of the cafeteria. (Photo Courtesy Rochester School Department)