Portsmouth Middle School Construction Project, 155 Parrott Ave, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: (603) 431-5080


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Built in 1930 with additions in 1935, 1937, 1973 and 1976, the Portsmouth Middle School is an architectural gem and an icon to the Portsmouth community. However, elements and portions of the building on Parrott Avenue were well beyond their useful life in serving 550 students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.


Following a six-year decision-making process, the City Council on August 17, 2009, approved a $37.5 million bond to renovate the Middle School and expand it by approximately 30,000 square feet.


Central to this decision was the goal of creating a “High Performance” school that is environmentally sensitive and substantially more energy-efficient while preserving the original building’s historic façade. By meeting the guidelines of the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS), which is similar to LEED certification, Portsmouth becomes eligible for an additional 3% in building aid. This would increase the total building aid from the State of New Hampshire to 43% -- just over $16 million.


Upon completion for the fall 2013 opening of school, the building will be able to serve up to 650 students.


The design approved by the Portsmouth Middle School Joint Building Committee on May 19, 2010, calls for preservation of the original 1930 building and the 1937/1963 additions while demolishing the 1935 gymnasium and the 1976 classroom wing addition. A new three-story addition will be constructed to provide a 21st century solution while reinforcing the horizontal lines of the existing facility. The project will maintain the existing foundations, structural frame, exterior and interior load-bearing walls and roof framing, including the iconic gold-dome cupola located over the center gable that defines the main entrance to the Middle School. The School Board has approved a “phasing” plan to minimize disruptions to the Middle School program and students, faculty and staff. To view the phasing plan, click here


The new wing will be built on Alumni Field, requiring the construction of a new softball field on Granite Street. Additional usage of Portsmouth High School athletic fields by Middle School students required the installation of synthetic turf. To learn more about the fields/athletics, click here


The Joint Building Committee tasked with overseeing the project is comprised of Co-Chairs Chris Dwyer from the City Council and Dexter Legg from the School Board; City Councilors Eric Spear and Jerry J. Hejtmanek; School Board Members Leslie Stevens and Elizabeth Sweet; citizen members Ernie Carrier, Mary Ann List and Peter Middleton; and ex-officio members City Manager John P. Bohenko, Superintendent Edward McDonough, School Business Administrator Stephen Bartlett and Middle School Principal John Stokel. To learn more about the JBC and its Guiding Principles, click here



 Major Milestones


August 2009                                                 Portsmouth City Council Approves Construction Bond
October 2009                                                Middle School Joint Building Committee formed
December 2009-2010                                   Planning and design
Summer 2010                                              Portsmouth High School athletic field turf installation
                                                                    Granite Street Softball Field Construction
January/February 2011                                 Construction bid process
Spring 2011                                                 Ground-breaking
Spring 2011-                                                Phase 1: Construction of new wing
                Summer 2012
Fall 2012-February 2013                              Phase 2: Renovation of 1930s building

Fall 2013-Summer 2013                              Phase 3: Demolish 1970s wing and build new Commons

Fall 2013                                                     Completion!

Connecting the past with the future…