Archives of the WHS Building Project

   Information from the WHS Building Project Referendum PUBLIC HEARING on October 2, 2013

View the Public Hearing

Site Layout from 05/22/13

Presentations and Documents from 03/27/13

Presentations from 03/04/13

Presentations from 02/13/13

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 1/23/13       Click HERE to read.

WES PTSA Presentation 01/15/13

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 01/09/13    Click HERE to read.


WHS Building Committee Minutes - 12/12/12    Click HERE to read.

The graphic below depicts the site option for Wells High School selected by the Building Committee last night. It meets the goal of new and renovated space. The architects will now begin concept work on classrooms and other interior spaces.  We are making good progress!

This preliminary organizational diagram is a graphic representation of how departments and programs might be designed.  It is based on input from students, staff and administrators. Next steps are to review and verify, then the architect will begin designing options for consideration.  Moving forward!

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 11/28/12    Click HERE to read.

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 11/14/12    Click HERE to read.

WHS Renovations and Addition by Lavallee Brensinger

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 11/7/12    Click HERE to read.

PRESS RELEASE - November 7, 2012

Architect selected for Wells High School project

Lavallee Brensinger Architects was recently selected to design the additions and renovations to the 475 student Wells High School. Initial planning and design of the building is underway by the firm’s nationally recognized education team. The project includes substantially redesigning the existing facility to create an inspiring learning experience for the students of Ogunquit and Wells. A primary focus will be to incorporate technology and innovation into the design and curriculum of the high school project.

“A top reason we chose Lavallee Brensinger is their emphasis on the educational program and technology to support learning,” said Elaine Tomaszewski, Superintendent of Schools for the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.

In preparation for the June, 2013 referendum vote, the architects will work closely with the school district, community members, and interested groups to provide a customized design solution for the Wells-Ogunquit community.

Joining the project team are the Portland-based firms of Deluca-Hoffman Associates, Becker Structural Engineers, Allied Engineering, and Sebago Technics.

Work by Lavallee Brensinger Architects is seen throughout Southern Maine and includes projects for York Hospital, Goodall Hospital, and IDEXX Laboratories.

Lavallee Brensinger Architects of Manchester, NH is a firm of 50 architects, planners, and interior designers with over 35 years experience in education, healthcare, and corporate/civic design throughout Maine and northern New England.

For more information on Lavallee Brensinger Architects, visit

WHS Building Committee Minutes - 10/10/12    Click HERE to read.

WHS Building Committee Members

CO-CHAIR        Zak Harding            Wells resident
CO-CHAIR        Josh Gould              Wells resident

Tim Roche                   Wells resident, Wells Select Board, WHS Staff, Coach
Philip McCurdy             Ogunquit resident
George Holdsworth      Wells resident
Michael Richards          District Staff
Damon Russell              Ogunquit resident
John Kreie                  Wells resident
Rick Kusturin               Director of Finance & HR
Jim Daly                     WHS Principal
Marc Saulnier               WOCSD School Committee member
Tracey Leach               Ogunquit resident
Holly Gray                   Wells resident
Dave Fazzina               Wells resident

Bill Richards                 Superintendent of Schools
Russ Fox                      WOCSD School Committee Chair

 Organizational Meeting Minutes of WHS Building Committee - 8/14/12  Click HERE to read.

Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee Seeks Building Committee Members

On June 13, 2012, the Wells-Ogunquit CSD School Committee gave unanimous approval to a plan for both partial renovation of the current gym, auditorium and cafeteria section of Wells High School and construction of a new classroom building.  This plan, dubbed "Option E" is truly a compromise based on weeks of discussion, work of the Ad Hoc Committee (1 and 2), public input, staff surveys and comments.

The need for attention to the WHS building was established earlier this year and documented in a study completed by Harriman and Associates.  Exactly what to do and how to accomplish it was discussed over a three month period. There was support for Option D – a totally new school and there was support for Option C – total renovation to the existing building plus a small classroom addition.

Option E satisfies both concerns.  The classroom building will be brand new, built from the ground up, and on the current land.  Preserved but totally renovated will be the Ronco Gym, Olenn Auditorium, cafeteria area and library area.  The remainder of the building is slated to be retained by the district for possible leasing opportunities.  The price for this plan is lower than Option D, and as planned will provide an additional smaller auxiliary gymnasium as well as improvements to the track.

The WOCSD School Committee is seeking individuals interested in serving on the Wells High School Building Committee.  The committee, which will be made up of 15 members, will include representation from the towns of Wells and Ogunquit.  Membership will involve the School Committee, Administration, Faculty and Staff, citizens from both towns and possibly student representatives.

The committee will work with the WOCSD School Committee and Administration to assist in the selection of an architect, review and analyze existing information, assist in the formulation of educational specifications, make recommendations on a course of action and assist the School Committee in keeping the public informed of the project’s progress.

If you would like to be considered, send a letter of interest stating:

·        Your name and contact information

·        Town of residence

·        Specific expertise or experience you bring to the committee

·        Reasons for support of “Option E”

Letters of interest should be submitted to:

            Superintendent of Schools

            Attn:  WHS Project

            PO Box 578

            Wells, ME  04090


All letters of intent must be received by the Superintendent’s Office no later than 3:00PM on Friday, July 6, 2012.

June 14, 2012
Last night the School Committee gave unanimous approval (6-0) to a plan to both renovate the current gym, auditorium and cafeteria section of the existing building and construct a new classroom building for Wells High School.  This plan, dubbed "Option E" is truly a compromise based on weeks of discussion, work of the Ad hoc Committee (1 and 2) public input, staff surveys and comments.

The need for attention to the WHS building was never a question.  Exactly what to do and how to accomplish it was. There was support for Option D- a totally new school and there was support for Option C- total renovation to the existing building with a small classroom addition.
Option E satisfies both concerns.  The classroom building will be brand new, built from the ground up, and on the current land.  We will preserve but totally renovate the Ronco Gym, Olenn Auditorium, cafeteria area and library area for reuse.  The remainder of the building will be retained by the district for possible leasing opportunities.  The price for this plan is lower than  Option D , and as planned will provide an additional smaller auxiliary gymnasium.

This is a big step, and really the first of many. We will now begin to solicit interest in serving on the Building Committee.  This group, which will involve many individuals of varying backgrounds and experiences, will be instrumental in recommending an architect, planning the actual building design and publicizing plans throughout the project, to name a few tasks. 
We will continue to post updates on this site as we move further into the process.  The next will be more information on how to express interest in the Building Committee.

As always, please get in touch with us if you have questions, and thanks go out to the School Committee, Ad hoc Committee, and everyone who expressed their interest as we moved to this decision point.  Option E is a positive step for our students, our staff, and our district.

Presentation to School Committee - 6/6/12

Presentation to School Committee - 5/29/12

Ad Hoc Committee Presentation to the School Committee - 5/16/12

Items presented by the Ad Hoc Committee to the WOCSD School Committee - 5/2/12

Ad Hoc Committee members

Bruce Rudolph, Director of Finance and Human Resources will chair this committee
In addition to being the WOCSD Director of Finance & HR, Bruce has experience with major school capital projects including being Gorham's point person for the expansion/renovation of Gorham High School from concept through completion (even severed as building committee chair).  He also has experience with two major elementary school projects and numerous smaller scale capital projects.

Dave Johnson, School Committee member, Wells resident, Wells Code Inspector
Dave has been a member of the WOCSD School Committee for many years.  His experience with the Town of Wells gives him great knowledge and expertise regarding building projects.

Michael Richards, WOCSD Collaborative Content Coach - Technology
Michael has a vast knowledge of IT services within a K-12 environment.  He volunteered for this committee to assist when it comes to technology needs and desires for the high school.

Jay Audet, WHS faculty, Ogunquit resident
As a staff member for 29 years, and a resident for as long, Jay takes great pride in our district and the services we provide.  He also is very interested in the district providing and maintaining the best physical plant possible.  He hopes to be able to communicate the needs of the high school to the appropriate parties.

Jere Pierce, WHS Head Custodian, Wells resident
As head custodian at the high school, Jere was asked to participate in the committee.  Jere has been head custodian of Wells High School for 12 years and has a construction background.

Ann Bechan, WHS faculty, Wells resident
Ann has worked in the high school for over two decades.  She has a strong sense of the challenges we face with the current building in its current condition.  She has personally witnessed many of the difficulties that this building presents for delivering the best possible educational experience for our students.

Zak Harding, Wells parent, York Schools Director of Facilities
Zak wishes to be involved and give back to the community.  He also feels this will be an important decision for the town; how we view educational infrastructure and its impact on available programs.  Zak has many years experience with facilities and maintenance, along with Finance.

Charles Wilson, Ogunquit resident, retired Superintendent of Schools
Charlie was asked by an Ogunquit Select Board member to participate based on his background as a former Superintendent of Schools.  While a Superintendent, Charlie was responsible for over $70 million in bond renovation and construction projects, much of which addressed projects similar to what Wells is now considering.

Erin Haye, Wells parent, YCCC administration
Erin has worked in many schools and has been involved in varied aspects of education.  As an involved parent, she feels she understands some important information that will help this committee.  She is excited to learn more about this process.

Josh Gould, Wells resident, coach, Noble High School faculty
Although his child is in 4th grade, Josh has seen the deteriorating state of the high school.  He wants to ensure a proper facility is in place by the time his daughter begins high school.  As a teacher at Noble High School, Josh taught in both the antiquated 1966 structure and the modern facility that opened in 2001.  He took part in the planning process for their new building.  Currently, he works in the "new" building that was fully customized for student learning and has gleaned many observations about the necessary components of a building design.

John Kreie, Wells parent
John is participating because he has an interest in what is best for not only the town, but also the students moving forward.  He wants to make sure we exhaust all research and attempts before we "settle" and/or make a quick decision.  John believes common sense is most important.

Barbara Dailey, Ogunquit resident, Ogunquit Select Board
Barbara was asked to participate by a WOCSD School Committee member.  She was formerly the Chief Financial Officer and head strategy for a national health care organization.  Facilities management, human resources, project management oversight and long range planning were among her responsibilities.

Bob Winn, Ogunquit resident, Ogunquit Select Board, WJHS faculty

Tim Roche, Wells resident, WHS faculty, coach, Wells Select Board

Jim Daly, Wells resident, WHS Principal

Dan Ellingson, Harriman Associates

Elaine Tomaszewski, Superintendent of Schools (ex-officio)
In addition to her role as Superintendent, Elaine has experience with major school renovation and construction projects including the following in Saco/Dayton:
  • Approval of $8.4 million Bond for construction and renovation projects at four schools
  • Oversaw complete phased transformation of Saco Middle School from open concept to traditional space
  • Comprehensive study of Young School with modular building replacement
Also oversaw smaller scale improvement project in the Freeport schools.

WHS Study Presentation by Harriman Associates

Harriman Associates Report in PDF format as presented to the School Committee on March 7, 2012

Be advised that these downloaded files are large (most files are in excess of 12MB)

WHS Architect Study by Harriman Associates

Baseline Evaluation


New Construction

Appendix Part I

Appendix Part II

Appendix Part III

Appendix Part IV

Appendix Part V

High School Architect/Engineering Study Report 

March 7 – 6:30 PM

Olenn Auditorium at Wells High School

We are pleased to report the Wells High School Architect/Engineering Study is complete and ready to share. On Wednesday, March 7, Dan Ellingson from Harriman Associates will deliver the report as part of the regularly scheduled School Committee meeting beginning at 6:30 PM.

The School Committee asked for three options: bring the existing building up to code only, code and renovations of the existing building, and build a new school.  Mr. Ellingson will review each of these scenarios.  Over the next month the School Committee will consider the information, along with input from the public, before deciding upon the best option to pursue.

All School Committee meetings are taped for cable broadcast and are open to the public.  Following Wednesday's meeting the report will be available online (, at the Superintendent's Office and at the Wells High School Office.

We hope you will be able to attend the meeting and learn about options for our high school. 

Elaine Tomaszewski

Superintendent of Schools

February 8 Update

On February 1, Dan Ellingson of Harriman Associates provided the School Committee a brief update on the WHS study.  At this time, the study is 80% complete.  Interviews have been conducted with staff, students, town officials and they have looked at the building itself and space usage.

They are now associating costs with three options.

Last week the firm also met with high school staff to update them on the initial findings. 

A final report is due to be complete within approximately one week, at which time the School Committee and public will receive more information.

January 20 Update

 Architect/Engineering Study on Schedule

 I am pleased to report Harriman & Associates is on schedule with the timeline for the WHS Study.

 Thank you to all who have given input so far via meetings, interviews or responding to questionnaires.  The return rate on questionnaires, over 70%, is extremely high and indicates the interest in and support of the study.

At this time, a draft of the Facility Analysis (square footage, program needs, and condition of the building) has been prepared and reviewed for accuracy with school and district administrators.  The next step will be preparing a cost estimate of renovation, renovation plus an addition, and new construction.

An update will be given at the next School Committee meeting on February 1, 2012.  A presentation to the public will follow in February.

December 8 Update

Architect/Engineering Study Begins

At the televised School Committee meeting, members of Harriman & Associations provided an update to the School Committee regarding plans for the study.  They will benchmark the existing building and infrastructure and provide a cost analysis.  The cost analysis will look at the building operating over a set number of years and the firm will provide the cost of new vs. renovations along with cost for fixing the life safety items only.  An important component will be assessing the Education Program (how the building is used).  To assist with this, they will be interviewing and surveying staff, students and parents.

Harriman & Associates provided the following timeline:

December - meet with faculty and staff
January - provide cost estimate and analysis
End of February - final reviews and cost data

November 21 Update

September 2           Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued

September 26 – 30   Walk-through of WHS for interested firms

October 5               Selection team approved by School Committee

October 6               Closing date for RFQ responses (10 firms responded)

October 7 – 17        Develop short list of firms most qualified to conduct our study

October 18 – 24       Architect presentations and interviews

October 24             Ranking of short list

November 2           Submit list to School Committee for approval and seek authorization to begin negotiations

 Short List Ranking:

1: Harriman Associates

2: Lavallee-Brensinger

3: Oak Point


On November 2, the WOCSD School Committee made the following motion:

To authorize the Superintendent to negotiate and execute an architectural and engineering services agreement in accordance with Title 5, Section 1742, Subsection 6 for with one of the following firms:  Harriman Associates, Lavallee-Brensinger Architects, Oak Point Associates, WBRC.

Currently, the Negotiations Team (Chair Damon Russell, David Johnson, Superintendent Tomaszewski and Bruce Rudolph) is negotiating terms with the architects. 

As a result of a review by the Facilities Committee as well as input from district staff and administrators, we have allocated money in the current (FY’12) budget for an architect study of Wells High School.  The purpose of the study will be to determine how to best improve our education facility for grades 9-12. 

We have begun a rather lengthy process that includes multiple steps.  We will use this site to keep the public informed as the project progresses.

To date we have advertised a “Request for Qualifications” of interested architectural firms.  Led by a team (Bruce Rudolph - Director of Finance & HR, Jim Daly - High School Principal and Jere Pierce - Head Custodian), nine firms took a walk–through of the building in September and October.

The close for materials was October 6 and we have received packets of interest from ten firms.

On Wednesday, October 5, the WOCSD School Committee approved the formation of an Architect Selection Committee for the purpose of recommending an architect firm to complete a comprehensive study of the current Wells High School. Members are:

Damon Russell, School Committee Chair and Ogunquit Representative

David Johnson, School Committee and Wells Representative

Jim Daly, WHS Principal

Jere Pierce, WHS Head Custodian

Jack Molloy, Activities Director

Bruce Rudolph, Director of Finance & HR

Elaine Tomaszewski, Superintendent

This group was intentionally kept small to complete this first task.  They will review the information submitted, interview selected firms and make a recommendation to the full School Committee tentatively in November.  Once a contract is entered into the firm will begin its work.

Upon completion they will present their findings, at which point a Building Committee, made up of a larger number of people with a variety of skills and backgrounds, will be appointed to carry out the next phase.

Throughout the study our intention is to solicit ideas and input from a wide range of participants. 

As we know, the people closest to the situation have the best understanding of it.  I know from talking with our staff they have some intriguing ideas and creative solutions to offer.

This is an exciting project to enter into.  I hope you will continue to check on progress throughout the year.

Best regards,

Elaine Tomaszewski