Enrollment increases drive larger Smith School project

The Salem News | By Ethan Forman
November 14, 2016

DANVERS — Projected booming enrollments, especially in the elementary grades over the next decade, mean a renovated Ivan G. Smith Elementary School will have to be built larger than previously thought.

The new projections mean the Smith School will be designed to have a capacity of 465 students, according to Superintendent Lisa Dana and the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

Previously, the town had proposed building a school to hold 360 students. The Smith School had 293 kindergarten through fifth-grade students last year, Dana said.

Danvers is going through a rigorous process with the MSBA to receive state reimbursement that would defray the cost of the project. The project would address deficiencies in the school, built in the early 1970s under an open concept design with no walls between classrooms. The school has metal panels for outside walls and an outdated heating and ventilation system built into the ceiling that makes it impossible to construct classroom walls.

A price tag has not been set. What the project might look like, and the size and scope of the renovation, is also yet to be determined. In May, Town Meeting approved $1.8 million for a feasibility study for the project. The study looks at new construction, renovation or an addition to the existing school at 15 Lobao Drive.

Read More.