Possible Land Swap Would Give Hanover High to Dartmouth
2 Anne Segal, Chairperson of the Dresden School Board, to the Communities of Hanover and Norwich (14 September 2000).
3 Jay Barrett, "Our Schools," Town of Hanover calendar (1998).
4 A postcard contemporary with the building's construction includes a sign reading "Federal Public Works Project 3288."
5 "The Boot & Beanie" [Newsletter of the Dartmouth Class of 1965] (September 2000).
Update October 2002: Hanover residents have approved the agreement, The Dartmouth reports...
Update August 2002: The question seems to be resolved, with results that are architecturally rather unexciting: An agreement with the Dresden School Board means that the High School stays, Dartmouth gets a Howe Library parking lot and playing fields on Reservoir Road (possibly the site for the long-homeless Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse?).
Update January 2002: At a meeting of the Dresden School Board on 8 January 2002, two plans were presented: 1) Dartmouth buys the schools for $18.7 million and gives a site at Lyme and Reservoir Rodas for new middle and high schools, or 2) the high school is renovated and a new middle school built on a site adjacent the Dartmouth Printing Co. on Lyme Road, according to Fred Yarger, ""School Board Mulls Land Swap" The Dartmouth (9 January 2002).
Dartmouth College is contemplating the acquisition of a major piece of property next to its campus--the land and buildings of the Hanover High School and Richmond Middle School on Lebanon Street. In return, the College would provide a new school site on some of its sports fields across from the golf course.4
The Dresden School Board, which represents students on both sides of the Connecticut River, has long planned to build a new middle school to replace the one in Hanover. On October 17, 2000, the board was to vote on a bond issue to fund the project, as well as acquisition of new athletic fields across the river in Norwich and renovation of the High School currently on Lebanon Street. The School Board postponed the vote, however, Dartmouth had become newly approachable about purchasing the Lebanon Street schools, reviving a discussion begun in 1998. According to a letter from Anne Segal of the School Board, Dartmouth is considering a swap in which it provides a new school site from its land on Reservoir Road in return for acquiring the Lebanon Street property.2 Several other combinations of new school sites exist.
The Hanover property that the College might acquire has several notable features:
How will the swap affect the town? The new high school and middle school would join the Bernice A Ray School, built on Reservoir Road in 1970. Though the new facility would provide more space than the current overcrowded buildings, it will have the disadvantage of lying outside of Hanover. Schoolchildren will no longer hurl acorns at the Dartmouth marching band; but since most students already ride a bus to school, perhaps that suburb-town conflict has already been settled.
The College will continue its expansion. Even if the land goes to purposes other than academic ones, the proportion of town owned by Dartmouth (especially after the recent acquisition of older housing stock) will increase. This acquisition would not be the largest in recent years, however, dwarfed as it is by the late-1980s hospital purchase. Nor would the acquisition represent the first takeover of a "campus" originally erected for another Hanover institution: the College has previously swallowed up the grounds of the land-grant N.H. College, which now provides the site for Dartmouth's current sports complex.
©2000 Scott Meacham
Created 26 October 2000
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