Manchester schools take next step in facilities planning process by issuing RFQ

Nov. 10—Manchester school officials issued a Request For Qualifications seeking information from architectural and engineering firms interested in helping with the city's long-term school facilities planning process.

The issuance of the RFQ represents the next step in the district's planning process, after school board members in August approved Superintendent Jenn Gillis' conceptual plans which reduce the number of city high schools and elementary schools.

"We are very excited to take this next step and eager to hear from the firms that can help us transform our physical school buildings, and, ultimately, the way we deliver education," Gillis said in a statement. "This is a methodical process, but it is critical that as we envision the future of our schools, we are making decisions that are student-centered, informed by data and aligned with our strategic plan.

"Our goal remains the same: Creating spaces that meet the needs of our students for years to come. Today, we're one step closer to achieving that goal."

In August, Gillis received approval on her "3-4-12 model" — three high schools, four middle schools and 12 elementary schools.

Manchester is currently home to four high schools, four middle schools and 13 elementary schools.

Gillis' presentation did not include recommendations for any specific school closures.

School officials say the proposed "3-4-12" model is supported by information gathered through previous studies, including a 2018 Long-Range Facilities Plan, 2021 Capacity/Utilization Review and 2021 Davis Demographics Study.

The full request for qualifications document can be viewed at

Manchester school board members previously authorized administrators to spend up to $50,000 to hire a project manager to oversee implementation of the district's long-term facilities plan.

The 16-page plan includes three phases for work to be performed at schools across the district, but it lacks specific dates for completion of the phases.

The first phase of the plan calls for a project manager to be assigned to oversee facilities renovation and any potential construction or demolition.

The second phase will zero in on renovations at current schools, based on feedback received at community input sessions over the past year. All but one of the 13 elementary schools in the city will likely receive some sort of renovation, with the exception of Weston Elementary.

Wilson Elementary School could be in line for a complete renovation, according to the report.

Phase 2 also will include the completion of the city's four public middle schools into grade 5-8 schools.

Plans for the city's public high schools also will be discussed. Feedback received during the community input sessions showed residents didn't support merging Manchester's high schools into a "mega" high school, though they did back renovations or rebuilding the existing high schools.

The final phase is expected to examine the long-term viability of the elementary schools and finalize plans for the high schools.

Projected costs for any of the phases have yet to be determined, school officials said, because ongoing and impending housing projects could impact future enrollment figures.