Dartmo. home  

Possible Land Swap Would Give Hanover High to Dartmouth


-Fred Yarger, ""School Board Mulls Land Swap" (The Dartmouth [9 January 2002]).
-Dresden Building Options Committee minutes includes links to
  -location map
  -Dartmouth's positions
-Ithan Pelton, "College may purchase Hanover High School" (The Dartmouth [1 November 2000]).
-Rachel Osterman, "Residents oppose total HS purchase" (The Dartmouth [11 November 2001])
-Dresden School District Minutes
-Hanover High School
-Richmond Middle School, including school floorplans
-Dartmouth Athletic Facilities

map of athletic fields
Potential acquisition in relation to existing Dartmouth athletic facilities

high school
Hanover High School

map of Reservoir Road fields
Relation of Reservoir Road fields to campus

map showing Sachem Fields
Relation of Sachem Fields to campus

1 Richard G. Jaeger, Director of Athletics and Recreation, to Friends of Dartmouth Rugby (14 September 2000).

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:

  • Proximity to campus: The high school complex stands south of Lebanon Street, past St. Denis Roman Catholic Church and facing the intersection of Summer Street. The site lies directly south of Dartmouth's Memorial Field and would form a natural continuation of the existing athletic complex, which currently stretches from Lebanon Street northward to East Wheelock Street. The current Dartmouth athletic facilities consist of Alumni Gym with the attached Berry Sports Center and Davis Field House; Memorial Field; Leverone Field House; and Red Rolfe Field. In addition Thompson Arena, the Scully-Fahey Field, the Boss Tennis Center, and adjacent fields lie west of Leverone across South Park Street.

  • Buildings: The school complex consists of two main buildings: the first is the 1924-1926 Frances C. Richmond Middle School, designed by Larson & Wells and originally built as the town's grade school. The school was renamed for Richmond in 1971 after the Ray School on Reservoir Road was completed. The two-story end-gabled "Georgian" brick building steps down on all four sides through a surrounding one-story section; the building's double-height temple front extends beyond the one-story portion toward Lebanon Street. The building occupies part of the former Granger Farm, and was the second building south of Lebanon Street after St. Denis (also designed by Larson & Wells). A major 1954 addition added two classroom ells, and a second renovation in 1974 reflects the "open-classroom" trend.3

    Eastward along Lebanon Street from the Middle School is the brick Hanover High School of 1936, designed by Wells, Hudson and Granger as a Federal Public Works Project.4 The three-story flat-roofed L-shaped building includes an arm extending to the rear at its west end; a series of additions connects the this end of the building to the nearby middle school. A major addition of 1957 provided library and classroom space.

  • Sports fields: The new land would provide space for a new Red Rolfe Field, displaced from its current location south of Alumni Gym by construction of a new 50-meter swimming proposed for the site1 by Centerbrook Architects. Placing the baseball diamond on the high school land would retain practices and games within walking distance of the Green rather than shunting it to a remote site to the south.

    One indirect result of the swap would be the relocation of the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse, designed by Randall Mudge in 1999-2000. Fundraising for the clubhouse continues, but the building has been intended for a portion of the Reservoir Road fields. If the swap goes through, the clubhouse will be built on Sachem Fields south of town, where rugby practices currently take place.

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

This page URL: http://www.dartmo.com/landswap/index.html