Proposed addition

Overcrowding at Freeport High School

There were no changes to this component of the project for the November 5, 2013 referendum vote.

The FHS Strategic Master Plan performed by PDT Architects was completed in June 2012. It determined that there are current overcrowding issues in the high school.  An evaluation of the entire site and building facility was completed to determine what reasonable enrollment growth potential can be accommodated at the school over the next five, ten and twenty years

The Master Plan has relied on student enrollment information developed by the New England School Development Council (NESDEC), a new england regional demographic organization that prepares enrollment projections for school systems throughout the northeast.  The student enrollment numbers prepared by NESDEC for FHS are as follows:

  1. 2012: 520 students
  2. 2017: 601 students
  3. 2022: 688 students

The study methodology involved an analysis of the physical components of the site and the building, the development of a space allocation program identifying each space and the amount of square footage contained within the space.  The space allocation program has generated the amount of square feet within the entire building, as well as the number of square feet per student. 

This study used two traditional methods of evaluating space adequacy and determining the acceptable student enrollment within the building.

Methodology #1 used the space allocation program to determine the number of square feet per student within the building envelope. The rule of thumb for high schools is that they typically have a minimum of 160s.f. per student to a high of 190s.f. per student. 

Methodology #2 develops a student enrollment count for every teaching classroom within the school and allocates the maximum number of students that can be expected to occupy a room during any period of the day.  This methodology assumes that the school will be programmed with an 80% utilization factor and assumes every seat cannot be occupied during every period.  Eighty percent utilization is standard for education facility planners when planning high schools.

The Master Plan shows that improvements and space additions are needed to expand the high school.  The school can currently accommodate 500 students, current enrollment is 540 and 10 year enrollment projections exceed 650 students. 

Major findings of the Master Plan regarding Overcrowding are as follows:

• The existing Freeport High School capacity at the target 80% utilization can accommodate 500 students which would allow for 171 s.f. per student.
• Freeport High School is presently overcrowded with 540 students; it presently has an alternative education program run in two portable classrooms in the western parking lot.
• Several existing programs occur in undersized spaces.  These include the STEM/robotics program, choral classes, student services, kitchen and cafeteria and administration and human resources.

The Master Plan has identified a major impediment to incremental growth. The impediment is the inability to physically grow in three important core areas of the building. Those three areas are in the center of the building; the cooking kitchen, the cafeteria, the administration and human resources. These areas are part of a larger group of spaces commonly referred to as "core" elements.

Core elements in a high school include gymnasium, locker rooms, library, kitchen, cafeteria and administration and human resources.  The needs of these core facilities change as the school population grows.  In the case of Freeport High School, the gymnasium and locker room facilities are adequately sized for future growth.  The kitchen, cafeteria and administrative services, however, have not grown over the last 50 years and cannot easily be expanded because of their present location.

The study has identified the location offering the greatest potential for future growth.  This area is in the northwest corner of the building, presently occupied by the old industrial arts addition and an outdoor service area with a wooden storage shed. This area of the site provides sufficient space to construct a three story expansion onto the school to allow substantial growth. 

This Master Plan Study found that with careful strategic additions and with the ability to add a compact two and potentially a three-story addition to the north of the FPAC, the high school can accommodate an enrollment increase of 40-50% and therefore solve the overcrowding problem.