Middle School Public Comment

From: Sarah Sartorelli <sarahsartorelli@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2023 1:58 PM
To: Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle school project

Dear Concord School Board members and Superintendent Kathleen Murphy,

My name is Sarah Sartorelli and I am a resident of the Concord School District Zone 7 and a mother of six.

 I STRONGLY support the call to build the new middle school at the current Rundlett site. My reasons for this are the same as I’ve stated in a few past emails. I can’t help but write to you again, however. 

After viewing a recording of the most recent meeting you all held regarding the middle school, the superintendent said something stating to the school board members that they need to make a decision based on the “facts” and not what the popular opinion is. I find this incredibly frustrating! I’ve gone to many meetings and it sounds like over and over again the majority of Concord residents, when given the chance to speak, would like the middle school to stay where it is. I realize you will never be able to make everyone happy but how can you not take into consideration, the fact that the residents are doing all they can to speak out. This decision affects us with children, it affects where many of us have chosen to reside within Concord, it affects our pockets.

I cannot understand why you think building a middle school, essentially in the middle of the woods in a residential area, makes any sense at all. From a safety standpoint, response teams would take longer to arrive than at the current site. You are also taking all the opportunities away from these kids. The opportunity to attend high school events after school, sporting events at Memorial Field and Rollins Park. The opportunity to move about within the city after school, go to the library, or go downtown…. The South Street location is very walkable and the collaboration that the athletes are able to have with the high school athletes right now is amazing. How could you rip that opportunity away?
Why are you trying to fix something that is not broken?

Word on the street is, I hate to say, that the Superintendent is strongly influencing the school board members to move forward with the East Concord location. I’ve heard this from multiple people. Many of whom are friends with family members of those who sit on the school board. I beg you, the school board members, please listen to your community. Please remember that we voted for you to sit on this board and hopefully put your community member’s wants ahead of your own.
Although I feel strongly that you have already heard from a majority of residents who also want to keep Rundlett where Rundlett currently sits. I urge you, please:

  1. Hold another Public Hearing without delay when the costs and traffic study information becomes available.

  2. Put out a fact-based District-wide Survey Monkey on the Middle School sites (like was done many times during the Covid Pandemic) that includes teachers and publicly publish the results.

  3. Conduct a work session that focuses on community input where architects answer school board member’s questions and speak to the Rundlett site.

We elected you to represent us and our concerns. Please do so with INTEGRITY and TRANSPARENCY.

Rebuild at Rundlett!

Sarah Sartorelli

From: Thomas Kolling <tomkol56@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2023 4:15:29 PM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Patrick Taylor (School Board Clerk) <ptaylor@sau8.org>; rphillips <roger@phillipslawoffice.com>
Subject: Rundlett middle school

 Dear School committee,

 I am writing to voice my support for keeping the new middle school at the current location.  There is no doubt that the current school must be replaced.  The school is old and has served the city well but it is worn out.  The current location currently has the necessary infrastructure, side walks, roads, sewers, water, and electricity.  Broken Ground will require significant upgrades to meet all of the needs a new site will require.  This includes clearing land adjacent to an aquifer.  

 We are told that there isn't enough ground at the current location to accommodate athletic fields and parking.  Located near the Rollins part and within walking distance to Memorial Field seems to offer possibilities.  The school district and the city have joined together to look at upgrades to the Memorial Field complex.  Why not use the money that would be required to add athletic fields at the middle school to upgrade Memorial Field?  This would seem like a partial solution to funding the upgrade.

 Since the total cost to build at each location has not been fully presented to the public for review and discussion.  Please do not make a decision before the new school committee members have been installed and the public has had a chance to digest.  Please call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss it further.


Tom Kolling
51 Auburn St. Concord
cell 603-410-7395

From: Rick Greenwood <rgreenwood6053@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2023 6:08:55 PM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>
Subject: Location of future middle school

Dear Mr. Richards,

This is Rick Greenwood of 5 Hampton St., Concord.  I unfortunately will not be able to attend the public hearing for the future location of the new middle school.  I did however want to voice my concerns about the school coming to the Broken Ground area.  We have lived here since 1985 (38 years), raised 4 great kids here,and have been very happy we chose Concord to raise our family and retire in.  My concerns about the possibility of the new school coming to this area are many fold.  For starters the traffic with just the existing school is substantial and I can't imagine the neighborhood handling more congestion and traffic due to school activities.  We are also gifted with many hiking, walking, and biking trails here on the East Side, along with nature and preservation areas.  The destruction and congestion this project would create would definitely impair our quality of life of which we are very proud to sayConcord has.

Any efforts and actions you and the board can take to avoid using the Broken Ground area for the future middle school would be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Greenwood
5 Hampton Street
Concord, NH 03301

From: Bonnie Larochelle <blarochelle06281952@icloud.com>
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2023 6:26:21 PM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>
Subject: Rundlett

As a former Concord teacher, a south end resident and concerned grandmother of Concord students  I am asking that the school board vote in favor of building Rundlett at the present sight. I feel Concord citizens have made it clear that this is the best option. Our voices need to be heard and respected. I appreciate all that you do and am hopeful that the proper decision is made.

From: Gary Christie Sr <g.christiesr@comcast.net>
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2023 9:17:50 AM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle School

I know there is another school board meeting tonight to decide what to do about the Middle School. I do believe that 80 to 90% of the people do believe it should be placed where the current School is. I do believe this is been going on since 2007 with multiple locations to be considered it is about time to get going to rebuild the school at its present location for the reasons that everybody seems to be conveying. Can we stop contemplating what the cost is why we keep putting it up by broken ground or placing it where it currently is which should be for many obvious reasons. It's time to make that decision stop dragging our feet as costs keep escalating very quickly.

From: James Willant <jfwill68@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, December 1, 2023 5:02 PM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Rundlett School project

Dear Concord School Board members and Superintendent Kathleen Murphy,

My name is James F. Willant and I am a resident of the Concord School District Zone C in ward 10.

I strongly do not support the call to build the new middle school at the current Rundlett site.!

 Reasons stated previously are as follows:

  • "One of the major failings of the current school board and district is its refusal to abide by boards of the past and shelve this proposal until the country is out of this inflationary cycle causing every essential for living to be more costly including construction costs! "

"Taxpayers Were Promised No New RMS Until 2041."

  • "The district is making the same talking points during elementary school consolidation to knock down structurally sound and safe school buildings including Kimball and Connant ."

  • "The architects also said the minimum required upgrades, including a new roof, air conditioning, bathroom renovations, new flooring, door frames, and paving, would run between $4.3 million and $5.7 million."

  • "If the district were to put off building a new middle school to 2041, as the taxpayers were promised during elementary school consolation, or even for 15 years, renovations would cost about $380,000 annually. It would be a bargain for beleaguered taxpayers and put the district in a better position for the future."

 My reasons :

Concord is facing existing development costs for the mall expansion and housing, the development of 900 apartments and housing in Concord heights, further development in downtown and other areas.  We are facing the Beaver Meadow Golf clubhouse expansion and a new Police station which all are demanding increase infrastructure, roadways and support systems yet to be addressed! All to insure increased taxes!

There needs to be a more fiscal understanding and empathetic approach to the level of burden taxpayers can handle especially in these challenging times of increased inflation where people are struggling to afford gas for their cars, high heating costs as well as increased groceries.

 I strongly believe there are alternative means of modifying the existing building structure and there are companies that specialize in modernization that promote energy efficiency with the potential to amortize costs and contribute to lowering overall financial burdens.

 From what I have recently read, it appears there is significant thrust to follow the most expensive course of action.  Even though the Board of education is autonomous, it is important they recognize that these expensive decisions have a significant impact on all Concord residents and their tax burdens.


 Jim Willant

From: scottderoche@gmail.com
Date: December 4, 2023 at 5:41:39 PM EST
To: rcotton@sau8.org, bhastings@sau8.org, bhiggins@sau8.org, cmeeker@sau8.org, jrichards@sau8.org, srobinson@sau8.org, pwalsh@sau8.org, jweinberg@sau8.org, tcroteau@sau8.org, roger@phillipslawoffice.com, ccogswell@sau8.org
Subject: What is your decision based on?


First, let me thank you for your efforts as Board Members. I know it is hard work and often thankless. I’ll keep this email short as I know you likely have a lot to review.

As concerned parents, homeowners, and taxpayers, we have been closely following the middle school project. At this point, it seems like the majority of the board is leaning towards building at Broken Ground. I am confused as to why. What are the reasons?

From my perspective, we have been told:

1. We needed to build at Center Point because Rundlett didn’t have enough room. It turned out that Rundlett had more buildable area than Center Point.

2. Next we were told we needed to build at Broken Ground to be equitable to communities in the heights, so that they could walk to school, etc. It turned out that it would not improve equity as they would still not be within walking distance.

3. Then we were told that we needed to build at Broken Ground because it was less expensive. It turned out that the cost is not material (Only $21 in the first year for a $300k homeowner, going down each year thereafter). It is also important to note that we as taxpayers will still pay the 90% of the cost that the school proposal assumes the City will pay for building at Broken Ground. It was further important to note that 80% of the extra cost of rebuilding at Rundlett was for abatement and demolition which will likely occur and be paid for by taxpayers either way.

4. Then we were told we needed to build at Broken Ground because it allows more room. It turned out that the exact same building is being proposed at both sites and can be accommodated at both sites.

5. Then we were told we needed to consider room to expand “50 years from now”. At that point we may well need a second middle school or our needs may have changed completely.

6. Lastly we were told that the feedback from the community feedback sessions (where 90% consistently supported rebuilding at Rundlett) needed to be disregarded because too many individuals from Ward 7 showed up.

After considering all of this, we are left sitting here wondering what are the reasons to disregard and vote to rebuild at Broken Ground? I understand looking at the big picture and the greater good, but I honestly don’t understand what the compelling benefit is.

Can you point to your exact reasons?

Thank you for reading this and for your consideration,

Scott and Kerissa DeRoche
Ward 7

From: David Immen <dimmen@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, December 5, 2023 9:42 AM
To: Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>
Subject: Observations


There is real anger in this community over the school district’s handling to this point of the middle school site selection process.

The original idea of building in conjunction with the Y on Clinton Street presented obvious student safety issues that after the Howie Leung episode had people asking is the leadership (Board and Administration) tone deaf.

After the current sites were announced the two public handouts, one focused on Board criteria for selection (which included public sentiment) and the other on a site comparison struck close readers particularly of the latter as prepared not to elucidate the merits of each site but to steer opinion in favor of the Broken Ground option.

The recent financial comparison superficially showing a 5M dollar advantage to building at Broken Ground doesn’t hold up on closer examination and so contributed further to the suspicion that the decision has been made and the public hearings (and therefore public input) is merely for show.

The Board and Administration have not countered the arguments put forth by members of the public in letters to the editor and “My Turn” pieces and at the two public hearings in support of building on the current site. The absence of such a defense leads people to conclude the Board is either unable or unwilling to engage in such a back and forth. With the vote taking place tomorrow night it is too late to rectify the image problem the Board has before then. My hope is that Board members are aware of this and make regaining public confidence a priority in the new year.

On a personal note the Board president in my opinion has done you no favors on three scores.

1: By relating his observation after doing his own traffic study that there are traffic problems at every school and thereby seemingly demeaning legitimate safety concerns. Of course there are drop off lines at every school and parents must expect delays. South Curtisville is not as wide as South Street. The line of cars going to Mill Brook takes up a part of the travel portion of the road. Cars headed to Mill Brook parking or to the front of BGS for drop off have to go into the oncoming lane to do that. The Mill Brook parents who have completed their drop off are immediately and steadily oncoming traffic to those cars. The single auto entrance for the two schools has a third (narrow lane) that is marked as an exit but is used as a second entrance to BGS for either parking or drop off mid-way down the parking lot at the sidewalk to the front door of the school. This reality is not about being patient but being safe. The sidewalk on South Curtisville is obstructed during this time by the last car that has made the turn and is waiting at the back of the drop off line usually for MBS but also some times for BGS. Pedestrians must go behind those cars and into oncoming traffic to reach MBS or go beyond it.

2: By allowing the Joint City School Board Committee to languish while such a major decision impacting the entire population of Concord is under consideration. Informal contacts are not sufficient even if they took place between elected officials.

3: His rude manner of shutting off citizens who run past their allotted time by simply repeating the same phrase over and over. Better he explain up front that he will give a warning when a minute or so remains. With a minute left he should ask the person to please wrap up their remarks. Once that final minute has been used it would be reasonable to alert the person they are going over and that the Board wants to insure others have an equal opportunity to be heard. If the person persists more than another thirty seconds then I think the onus shifts and shutting the person off abruptly will no longer be perceived as rude by those in attendance. It will also serve to instruct subsequent speakers to focus their presentations and what to expect if they don’t.


From: Adam Kuczkowski <adamjameskuczkowski@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 2:29 AM
To: Concord School District Information <concordinfo@sau8.org>
Subject: Concord Middle School Project

Dear board members,

We live on Hoit Road in Concord, and have a daughter in the second grade at the Mill Brook school who will be directly impacted by your decision. We've been following along with the information and discussion about where to build the new middle school. We feel strongly that having the new school built at Broken Ground is the best decision for the current and future children of Concord. Building for multiple years at the current Rundlett location would be extremely disruptive to the kids at that school and would make us consider moving out of Concord rather than sending our daughter there during construction and demolition. Long term the additional space and additional options at the Broken Ground location would be immensely beneficial for the kids and the city. The presentations we have watched and read show that the site goals are clearly in favor of building the new middle school at Broken Ground as well.

Sincerely Adam and Blossom

From: Ralph Jimenez <rjimenez@cmonitor.com>
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2023 2:47 PM
To: jbouley@comcast.net; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; mwalsh@concordnh.gov; citymanager <citymanager@concordnh.gov>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Rundlett

Hello. I'm hoping to write about this. I've yet to see or hear any discussion of the potential impact 3,000-plus new housing units could have on plans to replace Rundlett. There will, for example, presumably be some movement of more empty nesters in big homes to Chorlian projects opening up space for families with young children. Have any of you seen any projections by demographers, amateurs or otherwise, and real estate experts. As I wrote in the Monitor a year ago, few cities of 50,000 have just one middle school. Thanks for your thoughts and any info you can provide. Please indicate if your comments are off the record. Ralph Jimenez - rjimenez@cmonitor.com

From: Ellen Kenny <ekenny@sau8.org>
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2023 3:08 PM
To: Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>
Subject: New middle school

Hello Sarah!

I've had time to reflect after listening to the school board "working meeting" last week, and reading the follow up letter in the Concord Monitor.

In terms of the meeting, it was less like the kind of vigorous pro and con discussion that I had anticipated, and more like an architect led event.  There is no question in my mind that the architects would prefer the blank slate that our woods in East Concord present.  It seems disingenuous to me to say that only 8 acres of trees will be cleared in this process.  It's hard to imagine that only 8 of the 50 or so acres will be cleared to include a school, playing fields, parking lots and the new access roads required for this project.  It seems even more astonishing to say that this won't impact habitat.  Loss is loss, and any of our students are well aware of the interconnectedness of a woodland habitat.  The addition of 8 or 900 students and the resultant traffic and emissions by cars and buses to a school that will have next to no walkability will also impact habitat.  No, we're not talking about loss of endangered species, but it simply doesn't make sense and is furthermore deceptive to say that land cleared by bulldozers and chain saws, new access roads, pipes and other infrastructure will not have an impact.

Lost also in the pro and con discussion is the issue of the importance of proximity between the middle school and high school -- formerly a big selling point when the board and administration were looking at the Clinton Street property.  There are currently 8th graders that walk to the high school for language and other classes.  Again, walkability and/or bike-ability-   features that are high up on the list of what makes a livable and attractive community, are being thrown out of the equation with the East Concord site.

The Concord Monitor's article also mentioned the disruption that will take place for students who will be at Rundlett when this project is actually underway, should the current sit be chosen.  I'd like us all to think about the disruption that will take place for Broken Ground and Mill Brook students should the school be built here.  The removal of acres of trees by bulldozers and chain saws will certainly not be a quiet process.  I suppose that the land can be cleared during the summer months, but any reputable logger avoids doing this because that causes the maximal disruption to nesting birds.  

Again, we have land that is already cleared and where a school has been successfully operating for decades.  That school is in town, close to (walking distance for middle schoolers )  city government, cultural activities and city playing fields.   It is easily accessible to emergency services.  On the other hand, you have a forested area that is part of an ever diminishing and non-renewable supply of contiguous wooded acreage,  essential  habitat for migratory songbirds and a vulnerable wildlife population.   This is something that as a city we should be protecting rather than exploiting.  The traffic problems of having two schools in close proximity have already been clearly expressed by the people in this area.  That buses will need to be added to accommodate a non-walkable campus has already been mentioned.   Finally, the wisdom of putting 900 more of our children essentially on the same extended campus, on the other side of the river from emergency services, is at the very least questionable and is certainly worth additional discussion.

 I have yet to hear a clearly articulated reason, other than those provided by the architects who are being paid for by our district and out taxpayers, as to why the East Concord site is truly better, even by the slimmest of margins.   We pay them to create something that meets our needs-- not the other way around.

Thanks for your time, Sarah.  I know how hard this decision is, and I'm very appreciative of the long hours that you and other board members put in for our district.    I hope you can take the time to respond to some of these concerns.


From: Comcast <Deborah.carley@comcast.net>
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2023 8:10 PM
To: Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>
Subject: Siting of new middle school

Dear Ms. Robinson,

I am writing to express my strong preference for the new middle school to be located on the Heights, on land the School District owns near Mill Brook and Broken Ground Schools, and adjacent to Concord Conservation land.

1. The District has made a priority of DEI, and most new American families live on the Heights. Having the middle school in their neighborhood will increase their sense of belonging to the city, and will introduce students from the west side to this growing area.

Young children are in neighborhood schools, middle school students will go to school on the east side of the river, and high school students will attend CHS on the West Side. It makes sense, and it seems fair to all. 

Traffic and safety issues can be solved in the planning phase.

2. Locating the school on the large piece of property owned by the district will allow for much needed outdoor recreation areas. The K-8 school where two of my grandchildren live has 3 different age-appropriate ropes/obstacle courses and a greenhouse. The children are out on the trails and in nature every day, learning about trees and native plants, and tracking animals in the winter. Outdoor learning activities have been shown to benefit students with learning disabilities.

3. Rebuilding on the existing site will subject an entire cohort of RMS to construction noise and disruption, coming on the heels of extensive disruption and learning loss due to pandemic-related decisions. Since we have another good option, let’s not put them through this.

4. The objections raised at the public listening sessions were almost all in the “don’t change anything” category. Yes, change requires adjustment and fortunately, people usually adjust to reasonable changes quite well.

5. Finally, and I realize this is not a major part of the discussion, the South Street site can be sold and redeveloped as a walkable residential area. South End housing is very desirable for its walkability and proximity to downtown and highways.

I am disappointed that the district did not put this issue on the November ballot so as to hear from a larger number of residents, and I hope the Board will not be persuaded by the relatively small number of people who turned out at the public sessions to oppose the east side location.

Please contact me if you have any questions, and I thank you for your attention.

Debbie Carley
Concord, NH

From: Gib West <gbwestiii@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2023 9:44 AM
To: Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; sronbinson@sau8.org; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Clint Cogswell <ccogswell@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Work Session Reflection

Good morning School Board Members and Superintendent Murphy,

Last evening (October 17th), I attended the school board’s work session on the middle school project.  This was the third time I have attended a meeting featuring the architects, and it was helpful to hear and see what HMFH continues to develop based on the questions and comments from the school board as well as those from the public forums.  It also became clear as the evening progressed that there are quite a few board members who, despite the goal of comparing “apples to apples”, are speaking consistently in support of the Broken Ground site.  

The decision process that you will be pursuing became a point of contention and worry when the discussion of “taking the temperature of the community” came up.  One of the board members expressed that the “desires” of the community were not part of the criteria being used to make the decision and indeed should be.  To counter this, the superintendent stated that " [in asking the community] “you have to consider the wishes that are beyond the scope of what you accomplish here.”  Further, I was particularly concerned with the statement that followed.  “I am always wary about us taking the temperature at least because when you all take the temperature and you make a decision that isn’t the same as the temperature.”   Though she stopped mid-thought, it can be inferred that “you” don’t want the public upset so just don’t ask them.

The desires of the public are facts despite being subjective.  If 75% of people responding to a survey indicate that they want the school rebuilt on South Street, that is a fact and should carry weight.  I understand that there are advantages to Broken Ground just as there are for South Street.  But to be “wary” of asking the community what they think violates the trust voters have placed in you as a school board and belies the “honest conversation” you are seeking.


Gib West

From: Sarah Sartorelli <sarahsartorelli@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2023 6:41 PM
To: Concord School District Information <concordinfo@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle school project

Good morning,

As a mother of six who lives in the South End of Concord, we love our location and chose to buy our house on Rockingham Street because of the close proximity to ALL the schools our children will attend. I was at the in person meeting last week and heard many opinions and many great points were brought to light. I have to reiterate some of the points made that I wholeheartedly agree with.

Keep the middle school on the current site, where the students are able to get involved in after school activities, attend CHS sporting events at Memorial Field, Rollins park and CHS. These are students who aren’t yet able to drive. Being right on South St, they can walk to Flanagan’s, South Street Market, Rite Aid or Milano’s after school or after practice. They can walk downtown. Our city has spent so much time and money on our thriving downtown, let the kids utilize that and enjoy it also. Collaboration with CHS is huge! For students and staff. I have an 8th grader at Rundlett currently. In the spring time, CHS lacrosse players practice at Rundlett with the middle school players after school. My son is often walking to Rollins after school to watch a field hockey game or Memorial Field for football games and Soccer games. Does the Rundlett track team use the track at Memorial Field? Moving the middle across town and into the woods takes all these opportunities away from these children! The only choice they will have will be to get on their bus and head home.

Moving the middle school would impact the CHS students. You would be removing the practice spaces for multiple sports programs. Please look into this and recognize all who would be affected. Lacrosse, football, cheerleading… to name a few.

You all on the school board keep saying you will do what’s best for the kids. Which is how it should be, not what’s best in your minds, what’s best for the kids! Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken. I attended a meeting in the basement of the SAU in the summer of 2022. Dozens of South End residents got up and spoke in favor of keeping the school in our neighborhood. I hope you remember everything all those neighbors had to say. We welcome the school, the construction and the community. A couple years of disruption is well worth decades of enjoyment. Temporarily losing some field space sounds like a cop out. There is space at Rollins, Memorial Field, Martin Field, even Abbot Downing School, which if only temporary, I’m sure could be utilized during construction.

Also in closing, if exposing our Middle School children to nature is important to you and/or to parents in our community. Bring the middle schoolers to the walking trails at Broken Ground. Make it a field trip! Currently they don’t get many field trips. I’m sure the kids would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Sarah Sartorelli
40 Rockingham St
Concord, NH 03301

From: CHESTER HOADLEY <betty.hoadley@comcast.net>
Sent: Saturday, October 7, 2023 11:11 AM
To: Jay Richard <jay.richard@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton722@gmail.com>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Jack Dunn <jdunn@sau8.org>; Matt Cashman <mcashman@sau8.org>
Subject: OK, who pays for transportation?

Fiscal conservative is my middle name.  So, how do we pay for the transportation implied in the three grade enhanced curriculum?  It was estimated that it would take at least two buses to transport all the eligible riders (and maybe more if the walk zone were shortened) to a RMS in the Broken Ground area. 

If the building is constructed on the current site, the ridership is easily computed. This has been used ever since 9th grade moved out and sixth grade moved in.  So add one bus to the mix, station it at South Street, and dedicate it to trips for all the grades as they schedule trips for the "enhanced curriculum" and regular curriculum.  RMS must already have a field trip allowance which wouldn't be needed under the above plan.

Develop a new job description: bus driver/custodian.  Have that person be stationed at RMS, drive the bus during the school hour needs, and join the custodial or other staff on the quiet days or hours.

Without getting too deep in the weeds here, you need to understand this was all done before .........when RMS was first a middle school.  Walk zones were created.  Traffic patterns were created.  The overhead lights at Clinton and South Fruit Street were installed.  See if you can find the folks directly involved and pick their brains.  Inquire into why the RMS has a different start and stop time. (There are some very interesting reasons.)  Find out what a 2 and a half tier bus system solves.  Learn from the past instead of guessing about the future.  You have until December to ask these questions and get the answers.  

Thanks for reading.

From: CHESTER HOADLEY <betty.hoadley@comcast.net>
Sent: Saturday, October 7, 2023 7:36 AM
To: Jay Richard <jay.richard@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton722@gmail.com>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Jack Dunn <jdunn@sau8.org>; Matt Cashman <mcashman@sau8.org>
Subject: Last in series of how to use close by resources....

I am sure you knew what was coming for Crossover and grade eight students.  Yes, it involves Concord High School, just a short way from the Rundlett campus and the new RMS.  This is a perfect time to initiate a stronger relationship between the two schools as they are each with a new enthusiastic principal this year.

Think of the things that could occur:

1.  The Poetry Out Loud" contestants could entertain the 8th graders

2.  The eighth graders could tour the high school building.

3.  The high school guidance folks could talk to 8th graders early in the school year instead of waiting until June.

4.  The 8th graders could tour the Regional Tech area and find out early what great courses are offered there.  They could visit the art, music and physical education spaces.  

5.  The 8th graders could hear from the cocurricular clubs and organizations.

6. The high school science classes could put on demonstrations of their laboratory experiments.  The history classes could put on a debate from American history.  The list goes on and on.

The goal is this:  expose the 8th graders to the many and varied opportunities the high school has to offer.  Let the younger students look forward to attending that school.  Let the high school students practice their presentation skills as they develop topics to inform the RMS kids.  Let the staffs of the two schools find meaningful and common areas to showcase.  Let the high school not be an unknown.

A program like this has nothing but winners - the students at each school and the staffs at each school.  It would be easy to design a program which walked the RMS kids safely and expectantly up the short distance along South Fruit Street.

Just one more message in this litany of possibilities.

From: CHESTER HOADLEY <betty.hoadley@comcast.net>
Sent: Friday, October 6, 2023 9:25 AM
To: Jay Richard <jay.richard@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton722@gmail.com>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Jack Dunn <jdunn@sau8.org>; Matt Cashman <mcashman@sau8.org>
Subject: Suggestions for using the city center resources

  • OK, here we go again.....this time seventh grade under the giant umbrella of Here and There - Now and Then.  Everything one learns as a toddler and a preschooler is identifying how things and situations are alike or different.  Move that concept up to the seventh grade students in the New Rundlett School.

+  Visit the Concord Public Library just a short way from school.  How does it compare to the State Library?  to the Library of Congress?  to their own home library?  Visit the State House, just a short way from school.  How does it compare to the buildings in Washington where the Congress meets? to the palaces of kings and queens?  to rural NH town halls?  You get the idea.  Use local resources and examples to learn by studying "here and there".

 +  And now Then and Now (or Now and Then) as an umbrella for learning activities in grade seven.  The professional staff members will love this one.  What fun comparing clothing, housing, schools, transportation, politics, etc.  They can visit the historical opportunities around the city center and the Pierce Manse to get the THEN.  English teachers will have fun with words from our own Constitution or words from colonial times.  And even the math teachers can explain the abacus from B.C. times or introduce the binary system in math to contrast with the decimal system (binary system = you may know this as base 2).  Staff can build units that really force the kids to think.  But what is really happening is expanding the students' horizons just before eighth grade when they will be choosing pathways to their own future. JW

Read over the district mission statement and the longer version of sub-goals to see how they fit almost perfectly with this approach for grade seven students.  And now, see if you can guess what the focus will be for grade eight students and what nearby institution or building will play a central role in this plan.  With a little luck, the museum for the Abbot-Downing  stage coach might be operational, but don't plan on it.

 Why this exercise and this communication?  Clearly the South Street site is much closer to the city center and many other resources helpful to curriculum and instruction.  This is how the middle school staff can take advantage of its location.

From: Kate Vaughn <cathryn.e.vaughn@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2023 2:55:31 PM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle School Location

Good Afternoon Superintendent Murphy and School Board Member,

My name is Kate Vaughn and I live in Ward 10 of Concord.  I shared my thoughts on the location of the middle school with you during last night's forum and am following up with my written statement for your records.

I believe the middle school should be built on the Broken Ground site for a number of reasons.

First, based on what I have read and seen, the Broken Ground site is the better site.  It is larger and does not have a current building on it to build around providing more opportunities and space for the new facility.  There is ample space for the building, fields and to preserve a portion of the beloved trails and natural setting.  Students will benefit from accessing the nature trails and area around it in their science and other classes.

Second, building on the current Rundlett site would be a more difficult site to build on because there is an existing building on the site.  The students who will attend Rundlett while the new middle school is built have already had their educational experience significantly disrupted by covid in their elementary school years and do not need to have further disruption by attending middle school on a construction site.  In addition to the noise and space impact of building a new building so close to the existing middle school, if we are to rebuild at the Rundlett site, we will lose the fields at the school during the building process.  Students will have to travel to other fields for sports and other activities.  The disruption to the fields will not end when the new school is built.  It will take time to take down the existing building and establish new fields.  I imagine this will take at least another year or more.

FInally, there is a benefit to having the middle school on this side of the river and the high school on the other.  Having all of Concord students spend time on both sides of the river will unify our city.  Currently, within some pockets, there is a perception that the east side of Concord is limited to Louden Road.  This is a misconception.  There are many neighborhoods and families living throughout this side of the city – some of who have transportation challenges and many who do not – but all of whom could benefit from having their students attend middle school on the Broken Ground site.  All of our students will attend high school in the west end.  Having students experience both sides of the city can unify us.  It will also have the added benefit of allowing families who may have transportation challenges to be more involved in their students’ middle school years.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kate Vaughn

From: Chris Moore <fliprollflop@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2023 5:39 PM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>
Subject: New Middle School

Hi Kathy and Jim,

My name is Chris Moore and I live on Cypress Street, as you know, it parallels the school property. 

I am strongly in favor of rebuilding on the current property.  Utilizing the current property is wise for a number of reasons.

The community knows the road layout and traffic patterns at different times of the year.  The student safety of having access to sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing signals makes it a safe place to get to and from.

Students are within walking and bicycling distance of downtown, Memorial field, Rollins and Concord High This makes for a healthier student population. I see athletes walking to the fields from the Highschool daily.  Walking and riding in the South End is a pretty safe bet.

I can't say I love the traffic leaving the school in the afternoon when athletes, coaches and school staff leave, but I do love that it's a safe area to walk in.  

I also cannot imagine what would happen to that piece of property if the School sold it.  I think the South End would be forever changed, and not for the good.  

I strongly encourage you to rebuild on the current site.

Thank you,
Chris Moore

From: CHESTER HOADLEY <betty.hoadley@comcast.net>
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2023 6:10 PM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Jack Dunn <jdunn@sau8.org>; Matt Cashman <mcashman@sau8.org>
Subject: Questions about the middle school project

You asked for questions.  Here are mine.

1.  Is it true that 200 parking spaces are planned?  What is the history of this kind of demand?  How many trees would be removed for such a giant of a parking lot?

2.  Is it true that the building might be three stories high?  Why?  Are tight field spaces driving this monstrosity or are you trying to quell the Rebuild Rundlett neighbors and supporters?  They deserve more consideration.

3.  Have you found other close by fields that are appropriate or have you even tried?

4.  Why are you boasting about the outdoor learning areas on the east side when you already have a building and space at the White Farm.  SEE has been pretty much ignored at the middle school grades lately, but it can have a dramatic resurrection if you want that to happen.  Your assistant superintendent and the Project SEE team can collaborate to make a whole new sixth and seventh grade science curriculum using White Farm.

5.  Some of the materials distributed are loaded with bias for the east side site.  Does this mean the decision is as good as done?  (You know how this would set with the taxpayers who say, "They do as they want to do.")

6.  Why are you giving lip service to the east side being an attractive public area for all kinds of events?  Perhaps it would be better to stick to middle school education, and not promise more than you can deliver.

7.  Show the comparative square footage of classroom space between the present available room and that of the proposed building.  Justify the three story building issue if you have not already done this elsewhere.  Who is running this show - the architects or the district?

8.  Have you made the decision to change the walk zone on the east side?  The walk zone on the west side was changed when the sixth grade first entered Rundlett.  Busing was provided and the stop lights at Clinton and South Fruit Street were first installed.  This is not new thinking.  The east side has special safety issues that need to be addressed and priced.  What are they?

9.  Why do you allow as much time as you do to predicting enrollments and their impacts?  That is more unreliable than predicting the weather.  To build today planning for an unknown future is folly.  To protect the lands owned by the district allows future boards to respond with land owned and that is a gift to them from you.  Reasons why this is folly:  delivery of public school education in 30 short years could involve more families home schooling, moving to a year round schedule, or even having separate offerings of remote learning.  Graduation requirements could be satisfied in a whole new number of ways. All these situations can affect facilities.  


Concord School Board Members: 

The citizens of Concord deserve further information regarding the Rundlett project. It is especially relevant to those of us who are already paying the most exorbitant real estate taxes. It is only the homeowners who take on this burden.  We will be paying the lions share and it certainly is not prudent to make any decision without the financial component for this project.  I heard last night during the presentation that the finishes had already been chosen for this project so there should be information to release. We need to hear further follow up prior to any decisions are made or finalized. 

The school board is keenly aware that the cell phone communication at Broken Ground and Millbrook is non- existent.  In this past year you had to dismiss the school because of IT issues with the land line due to safety concerns.  This is something that needs to be addressed regardless of where Rundlett is located and certainly should be top on list as it is also a safety issue.  This is going to take corporation from Verizon and possibly AT&T to solve this problem.  We need to hear how this will be addressed. 

Safety for the students and citizens in the surrounding neighborhoods needs to be addressed.  Broken Ground and Millbrook are currently land locked without adequate access during emergency situations, currently access for fire, ambulance, or police as they do not have adequate access during the morning or at time of school release, which puts all of us at risk.  If Rundlett goes into the Broken Ground location it will extend the time and burden of traffic as the junior high school has a different start and release time. Not to mention the activity that the athletic fields with generate. If the Broken Ground is chosen for Rundlett it puts Rundlett further into the woods without adequate access for those children in case of an emergency.  There are no options for any additional outlets to give access to open roads or lessen the traffic.   Even if Rundlett does not get built at this location it is time to reopen the North Curtisville road again to reconnect to South Curtisville.  Those of us who live on South Curtisville have been burdened with the traffic pattern that keeps us land locked in our homes during the start of school in addition to release time which puts us at risk which is an unfair burden when the schools serve the children who live on that street as well. We all pay the same taxes but do not share in access that was formally available.    We all should be sharing in the traffic access options. 

Water pressure needs to addressed prior to the Broken Ground location being chosen in addition to the cell phone communication issue that exist, as these will all add to the cost of this location.   

Our children and grandchildren have attended Eastman, Dame, Broken Ground, Rundlett and Concord High School.  Their experiences came from the teachers and curriculum not from the building they were in.  Having said this, it is important to look at cost first and maintain the right curriculum for all students which can happen no matter where there are receiving their education, while the community makes its assessments.   

We are concerned about the loss of green space if we strip the land for the school and athletic fields when those open locations currently exist.  Hardly seems prudent.   If Broken Ground location is chosen you need to address the additional cost of electricity for the athletic fields when other fields are currently lit and it is a redundancy and unnecessary expense.   The burden falls on those of us who are paying real estate taxes.   

We agree that the current location for Rundlett is where Rundlett should stay, as there are far more opportunities for the students to experience more of the historic and community functions the city has and activities that they should be exposed to prior to heading to high school.  The location will not require the loss of green space.  Access for emergency equipment already exists making it a safer location for students. Traffic patterns and outlet access far exceed the Broken Ground location.  Cell phone communication if far less of an issue in its current location.  Water and sewer exist.  You do not have to reinvent the wheel in its current location. 

Thanking you in advance for your careful consideration. 

Joyce and Scot Pennington 

From: Susan Lauze <slauze@sau8.org>
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2023 12:33 PM
To: Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>
Cc: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Fw: Scan_Susan Lauze_12_30_23-10-2023

 Please see my letter of support for the new middle school. Susan Lauze  (Ward 7)

October 23, 2023

Dear Concord School Board Members,

I appreciate all the work you have been doing in planning for a new middle school in Concord. As a long time Concord resident of the south end I am strongly in favor of using the existing land in the south end for our new middle school.

I know first hand how much our 11- 14 year old youngsters have benefitted from being in this area of the city for their middle school years. So many of these students have been able to walk to and from school on safe sidewalks and neighborhoods both before and after school. They are at the ages to begin to access the downtown area on their own; going to places like the Concord Music School, the YMCA, and other city resources such as the parks. Our family sees numerous RMS students running along our road as they practice for cross country every day. In addition, there is real value in having our middle school students within walking distance of Concord High School and Memorial Field. The south end site affords outstanding walkability for a larger population of our city, thereby reducing the addition of more and more buses and bus drivers to our budget and also eliminates the need for long bus rides for many more students. One last advantage of using this site is that many people who have chosen to live in the south end, selected that area knowing the schools were there. The neighborhoods have long been developed in conjunction with middle schoolers for generations.

At the same time, situating the middle school in the south end, allows us to preserve another neighborhood of our city that has amazing forested areas with trails and wildlife within our borders. Having this diversity of land for all of our children and community members to enjoy in the future is a major attribute of our small capital city that sets us apart from other communities. From my perspective this should be celebrated and featured as a selling point to attract people to our city. Our family, who has lived in the West end and South end parts of the city for years, has always enjoyed East Concord's pristine areas for recreation and renewal of our spirits. Considering the well-being of all Concord citizens to have a vibrant downtown, unique and multifaceted neighborhoods including ones with country trails and hiking areas and continuing to use the south end land for two schools just as the East Concord land currently houses two schools makes so much more sense.

I had the opportunity to work at Concord High when the new addition was being built and then again to be in a leadership position at Broken Ground when Mill Brook was being built attached to our school. While some may think that rebuilding at the Rundlett site would pose challenges , from my perspective it offers us yet another opportunity for experiential learning for our middle school students. Both the Concord High School students and BGS students gained from watching the new building take shape and they also developed a sense of community and civic pride with the end result.

I am strongly against Option 1 for an East side location. This places the new middle school very close to the current BGS building and also has a roadway for all parents and staff to drive along the original BGS building that houses 12 classrooms and borders the outdoor classroom space. Currently BGS 4th and 5th graders exit the building each afternoon from this side of the building to meet parents and buses, this roadway would be very close to their sidewalk and in fact the traffic at the middle school entry and closing times would be noisy for classrooms. I hope this option will be off the table.

I trust that our architects and administrative team can creatively use the existing land at Rundlett to build a school that allows for the needs of future middle schoolers in Concord to have the type of program they need and deserve, while also allowing us to preserve what is special about Concord in its various neighborhoods. I hope your decision - making will keep in your minds and hearts the overwhelming input and feedback from Concord residents to rebuild at Rundlett.


Susan Lauze Iron Works Rd. Concord, NH

From: Liza Poinier Clendenning <liza@thefloweroutfit.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 9:19 AM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>
Subject: In favor of keeping the middle school on current campus - CSD should proceed only with community support

 Hi folks - Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend tonight's meeting. Here are my comments for the meeting record. Thank you for your work, and good luck with this momentous decision. Liza


Dear Superintendent Murphy and members of the Concord School Board,

After all the thinking and work that's been done to try to find an alternative location for Concord's new middle school, the current campus remains the best and most appropriate location for the next several generations of Concord residents & school families.

I have avidly consumed news and information about the middle school project since attending the community visioning sessions back in 2017 -- I'm really excited about the possibilities for Concord and our current and future students. I attended both public hearings when the Broken Ground alternative was brought forward. After seeing/hearing all the pros and cons, and listening to countless comments from neighbors of both the current and proposed middle school locations, I am unshakably convinced that an overwhelming majority of the Concord community would prefer that the school remain in the South End, for reasons of safety, transportation, conservation, annual cost, and easy access to other schools/fields/facilities.

There's no need for me to go into detail on any of those reasons, as they have been thoroughly discussed and documented during this process. As you make this decision, what's most important for you as a board is community support. If you choose to move in a direction that families don't want, the process and the outcome will be...unwanted. It's as simple as that.

Kudos to you for having a decent public involvement process: It's a fact that people make better decisions when they make them together. Now, I urge you to USE what you heard, and work toward finding the most efficient and cost effective way to build the school on the current campus.

Thanks & best wishes,

Liza Poinier
6 Morton St./Ward 7

From: Bruce Clendenning <clendenningbruce@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 11:26 AM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>
Subject: Concord's new middle school - huge decision tonight...

 Dear Superintendent Murphy and Concord School Board members,

 I'm unable to attend this evening's important meeting, so I hope you'll accept these comments in advance.

I've been paying close attention to the School District's work toward building a new middle school for about a decade now (has it really been that long since the first hearing/info session I attended at Abbot-Downing?). Through the fits and starts, interfered with by a global pandemic and other very unfortunate issues that became immediate priorities for the School Board, I've appreciated the fact that the Concord School Board has never lost focus on this AND has led the kind of public involvement process that our City Council could well learn from....

As the details, the costs (including somewhat hidden costs like needed city infrastructure improvements at the Broken Ground), and the reality that building a school at Broken Ground will not provide meaningful equity or accessibility improvements  - and in fact could make this worse for the majority of students, has become clear over the past few months, the will of the public has also grown clear: Concord's residents overwhelmingly want the new middle school to be built on the existing site of Rundlett Middle School. To be clear, I too believe that utilizing the existing site is the only rational option for the city.

I hope very much that you will vote, tonight, to build the new middle school at the site of Rundlett Middle School. 

There are no easy choices on a decision with this magnitude. But building on the Rundlett grounds; keeping the school on already-built infrastructure; in a location that's easily accessible to most of the City and already has sufficient bus coverage, access to State & City government facilities, the District's primary athletic facilities, etc. is as close to an easy decision as you'll get.

I don't envy you tonight, but I very much hope that you'll make the decision the great majority of the public in our City supports, building at the existing site.

Thank you very much for this process, your focus, and for considering these comments.

Most Sincerely,

Bruce Clendenning (parent of an 8th grader & a 10th grader)
6 Morton Street 

From: Kate Vaughn <cathryn.e.vaughn@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 11:29 AM
To: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>
Subject: Fwd: Middle School Location


I sent the email below to you at the time of the September hearing on the location of the middle school and wanted to resend it before your meeting tonight.  I will not be able to attend to testify in person, but appreciate you all receiving and considering my thoughts as set forth below.

Kate Vaughn

Ward 10

---------- Forwarded message ---------
Kate Vaughn <cathryn.e.vaughn@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 28, 2023 at 2:55 PM
Subject: Middle School Location
To: <
kmurphy@sau8.org>, <rcotton@sau8.org>, Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>, <bhiggins@sau8.org>, <cmeeker@sau8.org>, <jrichards@sau8.org>, <srobinson@sau8.org>, <pwalsh@sau8.org>, <jweinberg@sau8.org>, <tcroteau@sau8.org>

 Good Afternoon Superintendent Murphy and School Board Member,

 My name is Kate Vaughn and I live in Ward 10 of Concord.  I shared my thoughts on the location of the middle school with you during last night's forum and am following up with my written statement for your records.

I believe the middle school should be built on the Broken Ground site for a number of reasons.

First, based on what I have read and seen, the Broken Ground site is the better site.  It is larger and does not have a current building on it to build around providing more opportunities and space for the new facility.  There is ample space for the building, fields and to preserve a portion of the beloved trails and natural setting.  Students will benefit from accessing the nature trails and area around it in their science and other classes.

Second, building on the current Rundlett site would be a more difficult site to build on because there is an existing building on the site.  The students who will attend Rundlett while the new middle school is built have already had their educational experience significantly disrupted by covid in their elementary school years and do not need to have further disruption by attending middle school on a construction site.  In addition to the noise and space impact of building a new building so close to the existing middle school, if we are to rebuild at the Rundlett site, we will lose the fields at the school during the building process.  Students will have to travel to other fields for sports and other activities.  The disruption to the fields will not end when the new school is built.  It will take time to take down the existing building and establish new fields.  I imagine this will take at least another year or more.

FInally, there is a benefit to having the middle school on this side of the river and the high school on the other.  Having all of Concord students spend time on both sides of the river will unify our city.  Currently, within some pockets, there is a perception that the east side of Concord is limited to Louden Road.  This is a misconception.  There are many neighborhoods and families living throughout this side of the city – some of who have transportation challenges and many who do not – but all of whom could benefit from having their students attend middle school on the Broken Ground site.  All of our students will attend high school in the west end.  Having students experience both sides of the city can unify us.  It will also have the added benefit of allowing families who may have transportation challenges to be more involved in their students’ middle school years.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kate Vaughn

Sarah O'Connor-Willmott <ronnocoharas@yahoo.com>

To: ​Concord School District Information;Cara Meeker;Bob Cotton;Brenda Hastings;Barbara Higgins; +5 others​​​​​
Wed 12/6/2023 4:12 AM

Dear Concord School Board members,

I am a resident that lives on the east side of Concord, I would love to see the middle school moved to this end of town. There are several reasons for my option but I will first share that my family has a long history of attending the Concord School District. I attended Dame, BGS, RMS and CHS. My husband attended BGS (among other elementary schools), as well as RMS and CHS. We now have 4 kids who are making their way through this same path of schools. Two are now at CHS, one at RMS and one that we hope will get a year in the new middle school, she is currently at BGS.

As parents on the east side of town we can understand the concerns of taking green space and building on it but the truth is that land will be developed either way, if the district gives it up in the future. Additionally, we can understand the impacts to that neighborhood but with added infrastructure and a well thought out plan, like the version that remains, the impact will hopefully be little more than the adjustment previously felt when MBS was added to that site. These two concerns are part of what left our family undecided on this issue for quite some time. 

After additional consideration of our pain points with RMS, I will share the few elements that brought us to the conclusion that we want it to move. Accessing the south end, and specifically RMS, when coming from the east or north sides of Concord is nothing short of long and painful. You either need to cut through town, get off 93 at exit 13 (the bottom of Manchester street) and weave your way through neighborhoods to RMS, or you have to go to exit 12 (south of town) and cut in through less neighborhoods but still not an easy path. With the BGS location you have two access points by highway that are fairly direct. With 393 running west/east, intersecting into a more central downtown location and then 93 running north/south less than 1.5 miles from the school the access to the school will be much easier. This access, paired with a well thought out parent pick up area, parking lot and bus lane, should alleviate most of the headache parents (and neighbors) feel now. 

The existing RMS pickup is a nightmare which causes many parents to seek out alternate side streets to collect their children. This increases neighborhood traffic, kids needing crossing guards and additional safety protocols. Overall its a huge issue and one of the biggest things I looked for when reviewing the plans. I wanted to see this addressed. While both plans address this, I feel the BGS plans address this best. That site allows for middle school and elementary pickup lanes to be distinct, it has the space to amend the plan in the future if needed and the neighborhoods are less congested. 

The idea of rebuilding on the RMS site will be very disruptive to the students (both RMS and Abbott-Downing). The noise, the reduced outside space, the general distraction, the traffic and pickup issues... The kids that will be at RMS as that time will be the same kids that were most heavily impacted during COVID. These are the kids that lost out on (were impacted in) K through 2 and took a huge hit academically. Building on BGS grounds will be disruptive but to a much smaller degree. Additionally, I love the idea of having the middle school student have more access to nature and more opportunities for no cost field trips, than they do in their existing location. Sarah Robinson had some great points at the Oct 17th meeting about the struggles of middle school and this new environment and its natural elements could have a huge positive impact on these kids. 

The last major piece that weighed heavily for our family was the additional sports fields and athletics opportunities. The BGS grounds add to the fields available for the district and potentially supports the district having its own track. Furthermore, with RMS gone, some of the space that remains after demolition could be repurposed to further expand our sports programs and reduce the dependance/burden on Memorial Field. 

Thank you for your time reviewing our thoughts and comment. I apologize that they came at the last moment, but our family of 6 wanted to be sure you knew that we support the BGS site as the future home of Concord's Middle School. 


Sarah O'Connor-Willmott

Gerard Bedard <jvdgrb@gmail.com>

To: ​Concord School District Information​
Wed 12/6/2023 3:15 AM

Please consider locating the new middle school where the largest possible number of students can walk and/or bike to school, even if it means it may cost more.

- Gerard Bedard
56 S. Fruit St
Concord, NH  03301

From: Renee Johnson <yarn.hook38@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 7, 2023 11:15 AM
To: Concord School District Information <concordinfo@sau8.org>
Subject: The New Concord Middle School

I disagree with the location. The current location of the middle school at this moment allows the district to be more spread out rather to be centralized in a  location outside of the metropolitan area of the city. I also believe that moving the middle school location away from where it is located now will take away from the historical aspect of our community, as Concord has typically kept the location the same when a building had to be renovated. Think of it this way, if Abbott Downing kept their location the same when they rebuilt their school, I believe that Rundlett should be allowed to do the same.

From: Madeleine Mineau <streamnerd@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, December 8, 2023 1:59 PM
To: Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; tcroteau@sau8.or
Cc: Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle school vote and public meetings

 Dear School Board Members Cotton, Croteau, Walsh, Richards, Robinson, and Weinberg,

The message sent to those of us who chose to care enough to invest our precious time in the middle school location decision has left me quite disappointed. 

The message I heard is this: we the school board asked you to participate in this process and invest your precious time into it but if you actually did, we will assume you are privileged and therefore severely discount your opinion. 

You are now going to ask us to participate in another process to actually design the new school. After the message we got from you earlier this week, I hope you won't be surprised if engagement in that process is not what you would hope it would be. 

Regardless of financial means, time is a finite resource and I consider my time to be one of my most scarce and precious resources. I chose to spend 3 hours of my time at the public meeting at Millbrook and then several more hours watching all the other meetings on Concord TV online and reading all of the materials on the website. What I heard from you on Wednesday is that investment was a waste of my time. This is what I will think about the next time I think about going to a school board meeting.

I had a preference for one site but can respect that there were also some good reasons for the other location. I don't agree with the outcome of your decision but it is the statement you gave us about public involvement that I am most concerned about. 

If meetings do not result in the public engagement you want/need you need to figure out a better means of soliciting public input in a transparent manner. If I could see a survey or written public comment or documented public input in some way that showed significant community support for your decision it would be much easier to understand how you got there. 


Madeleine Mineau
Ward 4

From: Claire MICHLOVITZ <foxpersonone@comcast.net>
Sent: Friday, December 8, 2023 3:48:24 PM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>
Subject: School board vote

Hi Jim,

Obviously, Steve and I are very disappointed about the outcome of Wednesday night’s vote regarding the site selection for the new middle school. As you know, we have attended all of the board meetings, work sessions, community forums, GreenSpace gathering, etc since last July. There has been overwhelming support for rebuilding the school on the current Rundlett location. I know some people do favor the Broken Ground site, but they certainly haven’t expressed their opinions at any of the public sessions, with the exception of a very few folks. Sadly, there has been a lack of dialogue throughout the process. Either the board members listen to public comments or the public listens to the board members. Something like round table discussions would have been most welcome and helpful. I know these were used in the past as that is actually where I first met you. I thought they were very effective, and I was happy to participate. 

One of your comments on Wednesday night made reference to folks who have been unable to attend meetings in person for a variety of reasons, including transportation and child care issues. Last summer I suggested that it would be helpful to provide buses for those without transportation to MillBrook for that public session. In addition, support staff or possibly supervised high school students could have provided child care in the form of an appropriate movie in the cafeteria or something similar. 

The way this entire process has been handled has left many community members with little trust in the Concord School Board. An autonomous group with “representative” democracy will only work if the representatives actually represent their constituents! I am thankful for those few members who did represent a very large number of us who believe the current Rundlett site is the most appropriate. We also did a significant amount of research and fact checking ourselves before forming our opinions. 

I know that being a school board member is a very time consuming and often frustrating job. However, deciding to run for such a position should come with the understanding that there will be many challenges. I am grateful for the work that all of you do. I hope as things move forward with the middle school project there will be opportunities for actual dialogue! 

Thank you in advance for whatever attention you can give to my concerns. 

Claire Michlovitz

47 South Curtisville Road 

Claire MICHLOVITZ <foxpersonone@comcast.net>
To: ​Jonathan Weinberg
Wed 12/6/2023 8:51 AM

Good Morning Jonathon,

First, I want to thank you for your service on the Concord School Board.. I know it’s a major time commitment.

I thought the comments on Monday evening were excellent. It was helpful to hear from some different community members who also have expertise related to the middle school project and associated issues. I hope all of you are thinking VERY carefully about the comments that were made, particularly those of the city council member. 

Steve and I have attended all of the board meetings over the past several months, as well as the work sessions, board community forums, and the GreenSpace forum. There has been an overwhelming preference expressed for building the new school on the current Rundlett site. I’m sure there are folks in favor of the South Curtisville Road site, but they sure haven’t  spoken up much publicly. There have been numerous opinions in the Concord Monitor also - most of which have urged the rebuilding at Rundlett. I wish the board had thought about having a non- binding referendum at the recent election. That would have given concrete numbers regarding site preference rather than the current collection of anecdotal evidence. The whole process could have been handled more efficiently and effectively. You recently commented about the process taking too long and the need to move forward. However, that move forward should only take place after appropriate dialogue. An informed decision that’s delayed is preferable to an uninformed decision that is made under pressure of a deadline. 

It’s very disappointing that there has been no opportunity for group dialogue with the board. They either listen to public comments, or we listen to your/their comments. I look forward to the meeting this evening. Thank you again for your service.

Claire (and Steve) Michlovitz. (Mckenna’s grandparents)

To: ​Brenda Hastings
Sun 12/3/2023 1:51 PM

Good afternoon,

I am writing to you as a lifelong resident of the city, currently in Ward 10, to voice my concerns about the Middle School Project.  Full disclosure, I currently sit on the Concord Planning Board, however today I write to you as a resident and a professional transportation engineer with almost 30 years of experience, not as a member of the Board.  My background as an engineer includes traffic operational analysis and design for both public and private developments and roadway design.  In fact, I have worked on several school projects over my career through the Northeast.  I have concerns with the construction of the new school off South Curtisville Road and the impact it will have on all roadway users and the residents along ingress and egress routes.  I was very disappointed at the lack of backup information available on the District’s website related to the project.  The November 27, 2023, meeting presentation alluded to a traffic study that was recently prepared and some general recommendations for improvements, but it did not provide any discussion on the operational or safety impacts associated with the increase in traffic through this area of town.  In fact, I was unable to find a copy of the full traffic study on the website for review.  In a time of governmental transparency, I am disappointed that this document was not posted for the public to review as it has been a leading concern with many residents I have spoken to.

I did hear member Richards allude to the need to consider traffic; however, no one on the Board engaged in a discussion or asked any questions of the traffic engineers that were in the audience. Therefore, it appears that the Board is solely basing their decisions on the direct financial cost of the overall project on the taxpayers and does not consider the secondary cost or impacts to residents.  Increased traffic in this part of the City will lead to additional vehicle queuing at intersections, reduced intersection capacity, increased crash potential, and increased travel time for residents which all have their own associated potential cost.

I am concerned that the Board is making a decision before the full investigation of the traffic impacts are considered at I-393 westbound on/off ramp.  Currently the I-393 eastbound on/off ramp at East Side Drive is signalized as is the intersection of Hazen Drive at East Side Drive.  These two signals are operated by one traffic controller due to their proximity to one another.  If a traffic signal is installed at the westbound on/off ramp it is very likely that this new signal will need to be coordinated with the existing signals in order to provide efficient traffic operations. These two intersections are under the jurisdiction of the NHDOT and they will need to be involved in the discussion of any proposed improvements.   However, without the analysis of these intersections being completed it is unknown what the impacts will be.  Perhaps the analysis tells us the queues will get significantly longer on all approaches and block additional driveways and side roads along East Side Drive. Or Perhaps additional lanes are required to handle the additional traffic.  If improvements are required at these intersections and you expect NHDOT you are looking at having to get the project placed on the Ten-Year Plan as it is not as simple as cost sharing with the City like what was suggested for the intersection improvements for the pedestrian upgrades. This could mean that the improvements are not provided for ten or more years, while in the meantime the residents are negatively impacted.  What will you do if you select the Broken Ground Site without adequately exploring the traffic impacts at these locations and the traffic analysis shows or NHDOT comes back saying you need to provide more upgrades than you budgeted for.  Then you are going to come back and ask the residents to pay even more money to provide these additional upgrades.  At that point it seems like it starts to level out the playing field when comparing cost between the two sites.

When asked about the additional buses and staff cost it was noted that there is an upfront capital cost to buy two new buses and hire two more drivers, but when the long-term cost to maintain the buses and drivers was mentioned it was noted this was a operational cost and not considered in the proposal.  However, I noted that when someone asked about the savings that would be realized to not to install geothermal wells, the comment was made that we needed to balance that with the longer-term operational cost.  In my opinion you cannot consider long-term operational cost for one item as one of the decision factors and then discount it for another item.  The costs should be as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible. 

Also, it was noted that the rationale behind the need for two new buses was based on the number of students that would now need to be bused to Broken Ground site, however I also noted that Board members were concerned with the length of time it takes for current bus routes to get to the existing site. Therefore, I am wondering if there was any investigation performed to identify the new routes that would be needed and if additional buses, beyond the two noted, might be required to balance the length of travel time for these students.

In looking at the site plans for the South Street site I noticed that the long axis of the building is always oriented east-west which appears to align with the “Ideal Solar Orientation”. However, this alignment appears to be contradictory to the best use of the open area on the existing site which is oriented more north-south.  If the school was turned 90 degrees or if an “L” shaped building was considered it appears there would be more room between the existing and proposed school (thus less direct impact), further from abutters and provide a separate access from the north for buses and south for drop off/pick up and staff parking.  This separation of drop off/and pick up areas from buses would improve traffic flow and increase safety for students.  This orientation may also provide for more laydown area for the contractor and may assist in shortening the proposed 48-month construction period the Project Team has indicated.

From a purely construction perspective, the District should also consider whether or not an incentive/disincentive clause could be added to the contract.  With this clause, the District could set a reasonable timeline for the construction (will vary by site) and reward the contractor for coming in ahead of schedule or penalize them for coming in late.  The total cost of the incentive would be carried in the overall project cost.

Generally, I am concerned with the overall cost of this project when compared to similar projects undertaken by other communities across the state, but I recognize the need to provide a new facility for our students for the future.  However, I am more in favor of building at the existing South Street site, albeit with the belief that there are a number of further improvements that need to be made to site layout to improve operations and safety both during construction and long term.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss these issues further please do not hesitate to contact me.


Jeffrey Santacruce, PE, PTOE
50 Shawmut Street

Flossie Hoffman <flossiehoff@me.com>
To: ​Jim Richards;Brenda Hastings
Fri 12/1/2023 4:09 PM

Good afternoon,

My name is Florence Hoffman. I live with my husband Mike at 46 N Curtisville Rd, which is in ward 10.  I would like the school district to rebuild the new middle school on the current Rundlett site.  In general, my reasons support those expressed by Concord Greenspace.  It has been stated that only 8 acres of wooded area would be cleared for the new middle school, but I don’t see how that figure can be accurate, since all the trees on Portsmouth St would also be cleared to make room for athletic fields.  I can personally attest to the fact that this wooded area on Portsmouth St is abundant with wildlife.

On a more personal note, we live on the last lot on N Curtisville Rd and have been here since 1991.  Our property abuts the Broken Ground property on two sides, so our property will be directly affected more than any other property in Ward 10, if the new school is built here. My main concern with the Broken Ground option, is that there will be a two lane road along the entire back of our property.  There is currently an open field playground with a walking track.  It was stated at the last board meeting that the track would remain as is. If there is a 35’ buffer at the back of our property and a two lane road being put in from Portsmouth St, I’m sure that the 35’ buffer would not be made up of a wooded area, as it is currently.  They would have to clear all the trees to construct a road. A two lane road at the back property line will adversely affect the general rural nature of our property.

Secondly, there would be a 200 space parking lot on the length side of our lot, which is currently a wooded area.  I’m sure that if the school was built on the Broken Ground property, N Curtisville would be a much used drop off spot for parents, as the school will be positioned adjacent to a parking lot. A 3 story building next to the parking lot, in a now level area void of trees will change the entire makeup of our neighborhood.

Thank you for your consideration regarding our concerns and request to rebuild at Rundlett.

Herbert W. Cooper
27 Norwich Street
Concord New Hampshire 03301

November 28, 2023

Concord School Board

Dear School Board,

As a Concord resident, taxpayer, and parent for the past two decades, I appreciate the time and effort put into the Middle School Project by past and current School Board members over the years, as well as the members of the public who have taken their time to attend many meetings on the Project, and provided valuable comments and questions to the Board.

While I think it would be improvident to ignore environmental and health issues, as well as the preferences of many residents who have weighed in for the Rundlett location, I have concerns about the financial analysis presented at the November 27 Board meeting. We are told that the “premium” would be between $5,225,000-$5,515,000 to rebuild at Rundlett, driven by $4,454,000 in demolition and abatement costs, and “phasing costs” of $3,150,000 (no underlying details provided – but which the consults advise is a conservative figure and could be less). However, a Board member (Carrie Meeker) inquired about the two extra buses (minimum?) which would be required to service the Broken Ground location. Plugging in the numbers for new buses ($125,000 each, assuming non-electric) and drivers ($30,000 each), the annual extra cost for Broken Ground service would be $85,000 (depreciating buses over 10 years). A Board member suggested it would only reduce the Rundlett “premium” by $85,000. No. If the Broken Ground building is in use for 30 years, the buses will cost 30 x $85,000 = $2,550,000. (Without any bus maintenance costs factored in.) To which we really ought to add a premium of 40%, because this expense is not covered by state building aid. That brings the total to $3,570,000 or reduces the “premium” for Rundlett to $1,930,000 (in rough numbers).

This, of course, leaves out the fact that if Rundlett is left (but not demolished), Rundlett will still have $1,600,000 in remediation costs for asbestos. Why? Because there are current deficiencies in the buildings, specifically electricity, that we are not now fixing (and thus not improving the current experience of our middle schoolers, teachers, and staff) because of asbestos. Would this building really be repurposed without remediation? Unlikely. Since the remediation would not be covered by state aid, the “premium” should be adjusted accordingly. Thus, reduce the “premium” by ($1.6MM x 140% = ) $2,240,000. Now we are at a “premium” for Rundlett of negative $310,000. Realistically, though, the building might likely be torn down (or a buyer would factor in such cost), which would put us at a “premium” of negative $2,983,000 (i.e. it would, comparatively, cost us an additional $3,000,000 to build at Broken Ground).

This is without considering costs pushed off on the City – as taxpayers we would be on the hook for an additional $1,700,000 (the “other” 90% on a total cost of $1.9 million - unadjusted for building aid) to add a boosted pressure zone to bring sufficient water pressure to the Broken Ground site. As taxpayers, we’re now paying up to a premium of $4,700,000 extra to move to Broken Ground. Even if you assume no remediation, the “premium” isn’t really a premium. There is no real financial argument in favor of moving to Broken Ground.

The comments of Barb Higgins regarding the location of police and fire services are also on point – response times would be, on average, double for police and even longer for fire to reach the Broken Ground site versus Rundlett.

The foregoing does not attribute any value to: a.) having at least some students, faculty, and staff be able to walk and bike to school; b.) having students be able to walk to Memorial Field (and White Farm ski trails in winter); c.) having students be able to walk to the High School, and vice versa. This is not simply a question of “neighborhood schools” and inbound travel. There are health benefits when students are encouraged to walk to places. It builds a pattern for later in life and encourages good choices made in an era of climate crisis. Let’s not scoff at trying to change a detrimental mindset that today’s students can’t walk a mile and a half to the State Capitol.

We haven’t really been provided with the number of middle school students currently within the 1.5 mile walking distance of Rundlett and Broken Ground. Certainly, for Broken Ground, Interstate 393 represents a practical boundary to walkers on that side of the site. An estimate would be 260 for Rundlett and 100 or fewer for Broken Ground. Based upon Board minutes, with 70 existing walkers and 30 bike riders for Rundlett, this still represents over 10% of the middle school population, even with no encouragement on the part of the District. Regardless of what happens, we should try to increase this percentage. We should also encourage faculty and staff to bike or walk. We’re enlarging parking areas by about one third – wouldn’t it make sense to reward walking, biking, e-biking, or carpooling by e.g. buying back a parking permit for anyone who is willing to choose not to drive and park?

Part of the role of the School is to teach students about stewardship of our shared planet. Transportation contributes significantly to climate change. Habitat fragmentation is another issue that we can help avoid. The Board can let taxpayers know that not only will rebuilding at Rundlett save money in the long term, but it is better for the environment.

Disruption of students and equity for current students has been discussed- yet there hasn’t really been a push to fix longstanding deficits at the school (over decades). We always want to wait for the “big fix” (e.g. Memorial Field, Rundlett asbestos). So we experience swamps and classrooms with limited electrical service, for years. My family experienced the Conant- Abbot-Downing construction – it really wasn’t that disruptive. Principal Jay Richard mentioned, at the Mill Brook public meeting, that he didn’t really suffer much disruption during Oyster River reconstruction except for the last minute loss of the gym. Similar comments about minimal disruption were heard from teachers commenting at the meeting.

As far as fields are concerned, it is about seven minutes on foot to Rollins Park from Rundlett. While there are fields (baseball, field hockey) in use there at certain times of the year, they aren’t in use during the school day (e.g. physical ed hours). There is also the “skating” area of Rollins Park which is an open area during most of the year. Martin Park is about fifteen minutes on foot via Norwich Street and the Rolinda easement. There is an open grass field there in addition to the existing baseball and football fields which might be able to handle another soccer field or two. There are fields and open areas along the old State Hospital grounds, marked and unmarked, some not in current use. There are other areas which could be converted to fields on a temporary basis (and potentially be available for swapping with other school users who have to drive anyway). The point is, acreage exists without having to go to a distant, synthetic field of questionable environmental impact (Terrill Park).

In sum, hypothetical benefits of “easier” future expansion at Broken Ground don’t warrant ignoring current, real benefits of Rundlett, nor do they warrant the extra cost of building at Broken Ground.


Bert Cooper

Jillian Andrews Dubois <jillianadubois@gmail.com>
To: ​Bob Cotton;Brenda Hastings;Barbara Higgins;Cara Meeker;rphillips;Jonathan Weinberg;Patrick Taylor (School Board Clerk);Pam Walsh;Sarah Robinson;Jim Richards
Mon 11/27/2023 9:22 PM

Members of the School Board,

I thank you all for your thoughtful consideration of the location of the new middle school.

I have attended many of the events surrounding this decision in the last few years, but have not spoken out at any of the public hearings yet.

I write today as a resident of ward 7, a mother of two children who will likely attend the new school (currently ages 6 and 4), and as a former 7th grade teacher.

I initially attended the meeting tonight in person, but I struggled to hear what was being said every time the boiler kicked on. I don't have any hearing impairment that I know of, and am only 37, so I imagine many of the other attendees experienced the same thing. I ended up going home and watching the rest on the livestream, which was much easier to hear. Unfortunately, there was no closed captioning available, which I usually turn on to help me focus better on what's being said.

Despite living much closer to the current site, I went into this discussion with an open mind. I was open to the Broken Ground site, as I had heard from some folks that it would be more equitable for lower income and new American families to have a school closer to where more of them live, and equity is something I deeply care about.

I came away from the public input sessions this fall convinced that the current site is a better option for several reasons.

  • More buses would be needed for the Broken Ground site, meaning the school is farther away from more students.

  • Bus drivers are in short supply, and this may not change in the future. Younger workers increasingly value flexible schedules and the ability to work remotely, and bus drivers are rapidly retiring. A friend of mine teaches in Deerfield and they had to resort to two rounds of bus pickups for a while, with half the kids being forced to be dropped off extra early and wait for the buses to go back out and pick up the other half. 

  • Low-income and new American families are still pretty far from the Broken Ground site, and would be too close to be bused, but still have quite a distance to walk. Just a couple of days ago, I saw someone pushing a baby stroller in the road on the bridge over 393 because the sidewalks had not been properly plowed. This is not a safe place for kids to walk, and many of these families do not own cars. Here in the South End, we sometimes walk, sometimes bike, and sometimes drive to and from school. Even though we're only a bit more than a mile away, there are definitely times when it is cold or rainy and we prefer to drive, plus my 6-year-old (and myself!) are both not the greatest at getting ready very quickly in the morning! It would be tough if we had to walk or bike even in rough weather, especially if we didn't have a lot of money for rain/snow gear.

  • It really seemed like from the in-person and virtual hearings that the vast, vast majority of folks who live near Rundlett want to keep the middle school here, but the opposite was true for folks who live near Broken Ground.

In addition, I wanted to mention after hearing the conversation tonight that I truly hope if the Broken Ground site is chosen, the current building is not allowed to sit vacant and fall into further disrepair. The South End has already had safety issues related to encampments of unhoused folks, and it would be a real safety issue to potentially have a site that might attract folks looking for shelter right next to an elementary school.

I would also like to express interest, no matter which site is chosen, in serving on a volunteer building committee if one is to be formed. My experience as a former 7th grade social studies teacher, a parent of children who will attend the school, and the daughter of two civil engineers with some understanding of how these types of projects work, would be beneficial.

In closing, please listen to your constituents and choose the current site.


Jillian Andrews Dubois (she/her)
Mobile: 603-724-4047 

CHESTER HOADLEY <betty.hoadley@comcast.net>
To: ​Jim Richards;Pam Walsh;Brenda Hastings
Sat 11/25/2023 11:23 AM

FOLKS, you must schedule a Public Hearing on the Middle School Project.  To have the most recent financials on the project revealed on November 27 and the decision on the site on December 6 without an intervening Public Hearing is absolute folly.  The Concord taxpayers would never trust a Concord School Board again.  Not only would they not trust this present board, but a possible consequence would be for future boards to lose their unique power that goes with its autonomy.  It could happen.

Folks, please get off this thin ice.   


Concord Greenspace <concordgreenspace@gmail.com>
To: ​Brenda Hastings;​Jonathan Weinberg;​Judith Kurtz <judith.kurtz@gmail.com>;​Nicole Fox <nicolech@yahoo.com>;​Cara Meeker <carameeker@yahoo.com>;​Sarah Robinson <feasting52@gmail.com>​
Sun 11/19/2023 3:39 PM

My first sentence wasn't clear .... I meant to say: I've been out canvassing in Ward 9 - the topic of the canvassing is the new middle school location.  Yesterday, I was in the Gardens apartment complex. Today, we'll be canvassing in another section of ward 9.  Sorry if that wasn't clear! :)

 On Sun, Nov 19, 2023 at 12:55 PM Concord Greenspace <concordgreenspace@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Brenda, Jonathan, Sarah, and Cara,

I've been in the process of canvassing on the Heights around the new middle school location.   It's been an awesome experience to see families debating the pros and cons and making their own independent decisions.  Many of these conversations are in Kiswahili (I speak a little Swahili from my service in the Peace Corps and as a nurse living in Kenya) and it's been an honor to be involved in these family discussions.  In some situations, one family member gets on the phone with another family member that speaks more English to help translate.  In other situations, the kids help translate. In every situation a long debate takes place, good questions are asked, and a lot of thought and consideration is put into making the decision and ultimately signing their name in the column of their choice - either the Broken Ground site or the existing Rundlett site.  I'll be going out again today and next weekend and would like to invite you to come along.  

If interested, let me know what time/day works best for you!  Email me or text (202) 577-5354

  • Here are links to my initial canvassing spreadsheet and flyers for leaving in the door.  

  • Attached are the signatures indicating where community members want the new school to go.

  •  Attached are the signatures I've received so far from canvassing in the Gardens Apartment complex.....2 signatures are from two 9 year olds, and two signatures are from two 16 year olds who go to CHS, the rest are from adult community members.  

  • Important: The 4 signatures under the Broken Ground column (all adults) wanted me to be clear with the School Board that they want the new school built at Broken Ground but ONLY if there's a bus that transports their children from their neighborhood to the middle school - if not - they want the middle school rebuilt at the existing site.  I promised I would relay that message.

  • Also attached are photos from my canvassing sesh with authorization to take a photo to share with the School Board.

Thanks so much,

Meredith Cooley

MLP <paquetteml@gmail.com>
To: ​Kathleen Murphy;Jim Richards;Pam Walsh;Barbara Higgins;Bob Cotton;Thomas Croteau;Jonathan Weinberg;Sarah Robinson;Cara Meeker;Brenda Hastings;Patrick Taylor (School Board Clerk)
Fri 11/17/2023 10:48 AM

Good day,  with hopes to eliminate any additional destruction of our precious wetlands and wildlife, I'm sending my opinion of the location for the new Middle School to be built in Concord.

 My choice is to rebuild at the current Rundlett location.  This area seems to be a very sufficient amount of space/land to accomplish the project.  Not sure why anyone would consider tearing apart the Broken Ground, or other woodlands in town, there is so little left untouched.

Thank you for your consideration, I hope that reason out weighs more precious land grab.

Mary Lou Paquette
23 NE Village Rd, Concord NH
Ward 9

Claire MICHLOVITZ <foxpersonone@comcast.net>
To: ​Brenda Hastings
Mon 11/13/2023 3:27 PM

Hi Brenda,

   I hope all is well with you. Thank you for keeping us updated about the school board work session on November 27. I hope it will be well publicized - beyond the website - and well attended.  We also hope it will be a true work session with opinions being expressed by each of the board members. 

    One of the most frustrating aspects of this middle school project has been the lack of group dialogue with the public. We are very appreciative of the conversations you have had with us, but there has not been any opportunity for the school board members as a group to converse with the public at a meeting. The public has voiced many opinions, and posed numerous questions, but we have never heard responses or answers from the board other than the brief “frequently asked questions” post which doesn’t include any of the more recent questions or concerns raised at the community forums or via email. Is there another format in which the many dozens of questions and concerns have been addressed? 

    It seems that time is drawing short for any broader dialogue to take place prior to the board’s vote on the middle school site location. I believe you have a meeting this evening, but a call anytime up until 9:30 pm is fine. If that isn’t convenient, we will be here early tomorrow morning (prior to 9:15) if you are able to call then. You are free to share our concern about the lack of true group dialogue with any of the other members. Thanks so much. 

Claire and Steve 

Mike Hoffman <michaelwhoffman@comcast.net>
To: ​Brenda Hastings;Sarah Robinson
Sat 9/23/2023 8:00 AM

Good Morning,

This is Mike Hoffman. Flossie and I live at 46 North Curtisville Road. Our house is one of those most impacted by the potential Broken Ground options for a new middle school. We will attend the meeting on Tuesday, but we wanted to make sure that you both know we are in opposition to building another school on the Broken Ground property.  We are concerned about an access road along the back of our property, and the additional cost.  A school here will cost more for site work, utilities, and transportation of students. (Not only 2 new buses, but additional mileage, fuel and maintenance for the existing buses.)  There will also be additional costs to the City. The impact on property taxes should be a consideration. We hope a cost comparison is available before the site selection vote.

If a Broken Ground option is chosen, we would request that the district consider leaving a natural buffer of trees/vegetation between the project and the property line. 

Thank you for hearing our concerns and for representing ward 10 on the school board.

Mike and Flossie Hoffman
(603) 724-7330

From: Claire MICHLOVITZ <foxpersonone@comcast.net>
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2023 3:43 PM
To: Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>
Subject: Hi from Claire M. Re: Middle School

 Hi Sarah,

    It’s Claire at 47 South Curtisville. I’m glad we had a chance to speak briefly before the Greenspace “Walk and Talk.” Over the last week or so I’ve spoken with a number of folks in this area who are VERY concerned about the Curtisville Road school district property being a possible site for the new middle school. I’ve encouraged them to attend upcoming school board meetings and/or to contact members. 

    Earlier today my husband and I took a walk down to the beaver pond. It was SO sad to see that the beavers have likely left due to the partial excavation of the building sites that are for sale on that section of Curtisville Road. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to see so much forest habitat being destroyed. I hate to think about the possibility of over 50 more acres being turned into a school building and athletic fields etc. So much wildlife has become endangered and even extinct as more and more forest is destroyed. We need to think about the future of our environment and the children who will be growing up in it. There are obviously many environmental issues, but habitat preservation is certainly an important one.

   In addition to the negative environmental impact of  building another school in this area, the safety and traffic issues I mentioned at the July meeting are of great concern. The speeding, traffic jams/ lane  crowding, and lack of stopping at the Portsmouth St intersection stop signs are all situations that put children at risk. In addition, children living on Loudon Road would have a very dangerous walk (and crossings) along that road and East Side Drive sidewalks at any time of the year, but it would be HIGHLY dangerous in the winter months. I hope those who took the recent walk kept that in mind. 

    My husband and I plan to attend the August 2 committee meeting regarding state funding. Will there be allowance for public comments that evening? Also, as I’ve mentioned to other school board members, we hope that there will be a paper summary of the numerous sites visited, the issues with those sites, and key decisions that have made regarding the middle school project over the past few years, available to the public at the August 7 meeting. Maps of the two sites currently being considered as “finalists” would be very helpful. It is extremely cumbersome and time consuming to check the huge volume of documents on the website as you and I discussed. 

    If you would like to talk with us about any of these concerns, we can be reached at 603-715-1298. 

Thank you so much for all that you do! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Claire Michlovitz    

Amy Martel <sptspot0313@gmail.com>
To: ​Concord School District Information
Sun 12/10/2023 8:03 PM

Have you thought of actually asking the residents in the BrokenGround school area. The congestion and traffic pattern would have to change. Getting in and out the area is beyond dangerous and awful. Also to relocate trails would be beyond disgraceful.  I believe this should be put on a ballot for a vote. Not placed in the vote of the school board, who, I am sorry, not seeming to care of cost or the safety of the kids and the residents in that area. If you could give me a a call, I would greatly try to come to a meeting. Show you actual video of how awful the traffic is and how people , including bus drivers do not drive safely and puts walkers and others in danger.

Amy Martel
43 S Curtisville Rd,
Concord, NH 03301

Chris O'connor <freeceoconnor@hotmail.com>
To: ​Concord School District Information;​Jonathan Weinberg;​Thomas Croteau;​Bob Cotton;​Pam Walsh;​ +2 others​​
Tue 12/12/2023 7:26 PM

To The School Board Members who voted in favor of building a new middle school at Broken Ground,

I am physically sick to see that you have approved building a new middle school at the Broken Ground area that may cost upwards of a quarter BILLION dollars. I cannot find the words to adequately express my anger and disgust with you and the bogus process that you followed to arrive at your vote. According to the SAU's website, the only reasons to replace the Rundlett School was because the classrooms weren't quite big enough, the halls weren't quite wide enough, and golly, some kids had to walk a little bit to get to their next class. Oh, yes, the current facility is 60 years old and, despite it being perfectly adequate, it's time for it to go. Replacing the current facility at all is questionable but replacing it with a Taj Mahal is obscene. During your "visioning process" was the slightest thought given to the Concord taxpayers who will have to fund this monstrosity? My wife and I already pay $8000 a year in property taxes on our modest house in Concord. How much more will this insane project add to our bill?

I am a lifelong Democrat and I believe in good schools. However, the ordinary citizens of Concord are not all millionaires who can afford to pay for this new middle school, which, as far as I can tell, is largely a result of your arrogance, hubris and willingness to ignore public opinion. I can assure you that in the coming years I will support prospective board members, whether in my district or not, who will promise to derail or drastically scale back this abomination of a plan. 


Chris O'Connor
18 South Street
Concord, NH 03301
603 748 4823

From: Rebecca Lovell <adams-lovell@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2023 6:24 PM
To: Concord School District Information <concordinfo@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>
Subject: Middle School Thoughts

Good Afternoon,

              My name is Rebecca Lovell, and I currently live with my family in Ward 8 on Quincy St. I want to tell you a little story about myself and why I feel passionately about the future of the new middle school. I grew up in Meredith NH and moved to an apartment here in Concord, on Portsmouth St in my 20s. During this time, I would walk every day, mainly on the same two to four mile loop utilizing mainly Portsmouth St and East Side Dr. I begin working for the State of NH on Hazen Dr. in Public Health and moved to Penacook shortly after. During this time I become a runner. I have run for years in the early mornings all over Concord, with a regular route from the Baker Library down South St and back. Additionally, I trained for many half marathons, reach the beach, and finally a full. Needless to say the City of Concord, from Penacook to Bow became my training ground anytime I wasn’t working.        

My experience as a parent with a need for childcare began with my daughter. Our center suddenly closed one fall day, leaving our family scrambling for care. The last few years have opened my eyes to the need for affordable quality child care in the Concord area. I was lucky enough to find a spot for both of my kids at Eastside Learning Center on East Side Dr. The search for childcare opened my eyes further to the inequity and food securities for many families in the area.

My experiences over the years have shaped my view point and outlook for the future. I want more for the city, the students of Concord Schools, and my own children. During one of the school board meetings, the new Principal of Rundlett Jay Richard, mentioned looking ahead at the future of concord, and not just at where we are now. I believe that the new middle school should join the Millbrook/ Broken ground elementary schools.

The original Rundlett building was built in 1957 and brought walkability to the south side of concord over the decades. We need to see that walkability built on the Eastside, and a new middle school could bring that change. Many of the public meetings, people spoke out about safety concerns with the section of Eastside Dr from Loudon Rd to E. Sugarball Rd. I have walked this section with and without my small children and don’t have the same safety concerns as others. The heights is MY neighborhood, and I know how to navigate the streets. I am teaching my children how to navigate when we walk to/from Keach Park or East Side Learning Center (ESLC). The kids that live on the heights know how to navigate the heights because it is THEIR neighborhood.

Prior to the Pandemic, traffic would often back up from the lights down East side Dr. during the morning commute. The Pandemic brought many changes and a reduction in this traffic flow was one of them. Many workers on Hazen, have the ability to work from home 2-3 days a week. This is a reduction to the traffic seen previously. I know this to be fact for the simple reason, I drop my kids off at ESLC, and then head to work on Hazen Dr. I work at the Public Health Laboratories, so remote work has never been an option. Concord Police Department has been known to sit and monitor traffic from the ESLC parking lot.

Millbrook/Broken ground elementary schools bring opportunity for learning outside and a future love for the outdoors. This should be a learning opportunity at a middle school grade levels, and broken ground has the wooded area and trails that my daughter currently enjoys as part of her class room environment. Many people spoke of the trail system, and preserving the trails by Broken Ground. The middle school proposal for the Broken ground site did have an option to preserve the trails as much as possible. However the City of Concord is fortunate to have 100s of miles of trails all over the city. In my opinion a small loss to the trail system would be a small price to pay, for a larger gain to bridging the city.

Building at the Broken ground site would have a long lasting positive impact on the city with equity and inclusion. A new middle school on the east side would provide more city services to families on the heights. An auditorium would provide opportunities to bring arts to the east side of the city, and kids from the south side of the city would have exposure to the east side beyond the big box stores. The heights is home to both low income and new Americans, who should have better access to the city services that they need or depend on. Additional fields on the east side would provide opportunities for school sports like lacrosse on the east side. The new middle school could be used as an emergency shelter if there was a loss of power for an extended period of time. Schools are so much more for communities than just a place to learn, but a place that the community trusts and feels safe.

There is currently a proposal for a development with additional housing where the old mall sits. This is not the only development that the city would like to see. More people are moving into the area, and that could potentially bring more families in the not so distant future.

Change is hard, and Concord tries to resist change every chance it get. Think back to when the city first proposed the Main St project, and the challenges the mayor and city council overcame to make downtown what it is today. Downtown Concord is a place that people flock to and has won awards. Concord can do hard things. The school board has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make Concord more equitable and inclusive, bringing together the haves and have nots. I hope that you will take an opportunity to see all the future possibilities that a new middle school on the eastside would bring.

Thank you for your time,


From: Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2023 12:47:34 PM
To: Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Barbara Higgins <bhiggins@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>; Cara Meeker <cmeeker@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>
Cc: Jack Dunn <jdunn@sau8.org>; Matt Cashman <mcashman@sau8.org>
Subject: Sewer distribution for the Heights

Good afternoon

I wanted to address the recent confusion surrounding the $26 million sewer improvement project discussed in the School Board meeting on Monday evening. To provide clarification, Chris Nadeau from Nobis Engineering reached out to the City and confirmed that the $26 million figure is an approximate estimate given by Wright-Pierce to replace the entire sewer distribution systems for the Heights.

As of now, the City has communicated that they are not expecting to move forward with a detailed design and cost estimate for this project for another 4 to 5 years. Importantly, there have been no negotiations regarding cost-sharing between the City and the School District at this stage.

According to the Wright-Pierce Study, the existing size of the sewer system can accommodate a new Middle School without modifications. However, it was highlighted that future capital improvement projects might involve updating pumps at the station to support the new middle school if it's located on the Broken Ground site. The replacement cost for these pumps is currently unknown. In the estimate provided by HMFH, a conservative figure of $1,000,000 was included to replace these pumps. It was suggested that, since the new school is projected to use only 10% of the existing sewer station's capacity, a fair share for the District to contribute could be 10% of the replacement costs. HMFH included this 10% share in their estimated $1,000,000, with a note emphasizing that final negotiations with the City would be necessary.

Hope this helps a bit in understanding the sewer system project that the city has proposed 

See you tonight.

From: Elizabeth Lahey <elizabeth.a.lahey@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 7, 2023 12:01 PM
To: Pam Walsh <pwalsh@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Jonathan Weinberg <jweinberg@sau8.org>; Thomas Croteau <tcroteau@sau8.org>; Sarah Robinson <srobinson@sau8.org>; Bob Cotton <rcotton@sau8.org>
Subject: BGS Vote

I wanted to say thank you for your votes yesterday. I think BGS/the east side is a great site for the new middle school and I am eager to see the design process unfold. 

Thanks again,
Elizabeth Lahey


From: Chris O'connor <freeceoconnor@hotmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2023 12:12 PM
To: Concord School Board <concordschoolboard@groups.outlook.com>; Elizabeth Boucher <eboucher@sau8.org>; Jessica Parent <jparent@sau8.org>; Brenda Hastings <bhastings@sau8.org>; Jim Richards <jrichards@sau8.org>; Kathleen Murphy <kmurphy@sau8.org>; Becky.Whitley@leg.state.nh.us <Becky.Whitley@leg.state.nh.us>; Rebecca.McWilliams@leg.state.nh.us <Rebecca.McWilliams@leg.state.nh.us>; Paula W. McLaughlin <pwmclaughlin24@gmail.com>
Subject: Middle School Project

To Concord School Board Members and several others,

      My name is Chris O'Connor and I live at 18 South Street in Concord, a modest home where my wife and I currently pay over $8000.00 dollars in property taxes. I implore you to put the current Middle School Project on hold until a more reasonably priced alternative can found. My understanding is that the current "vision" of the SB is to build a school for $176 million dollars, a cost that goes up to a quarter of a billion dollars when you factor in interest payments. In a word, this is insane. South Portland, ME, recently built a comparable sized school for under $70 million. Nashua has recently built a new middle school and renovated two others for about $90 million. I realize that all projects are different, but the $176 million price tag a Concord middle school is so out of line that I cannot find the words to adequately express my shock and anger.

      Because of the almost unique "autonomous" standing of the Concord SB, I know that you can essentially pass any budget you want without having to have it accepted or rejected by the public. However, I ask you to keep in mind the retired citizens who will have to go back to work and the families who will have to leave Concord because of the increase property taxes that will come will your proposed project. I am a lifelong Democrat and I believe that our children deserve good schools. But, if you accept the analogy, they deserve a well-maintained Ford or Toyota, not a Lamborghini or a Ferrari.  

      Lastly, I would like to know what can be done to remove the Concord SB's "autonomous" designation. This is the last thing I want to spend my time looking into but, if the SB cannot rein itself in, I see no choice but to pursue it. 

Chris O'Connor
18 South Street
Concord NH 03301