Nauset High School Building Committee Takes First Steps: A Tour

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Nauset Regional High School

In a space that once held student lockers, Nauset Superintendent Tom Conrad tells the committee about the room's conversion to classroom space.  ED MARONEY PHOTO

EASTHAM A new group of players made its debut on the stage of the Nauset Regional High School auditorium last week, to a round of applause.

The men and women were members of the Nauset Regional High School Building Committee, taking a tour of the 1970s complex as part of their inaugural meeting Jan. 22.

Superintendent Tom Conrad told students meeting in the auditorium about the work ahead for the committee as it advances a major repair and renovation project. “The people on stage are volunteering probably four years of work,” he said. That prompted the applause, as well as a plea from someone to “Add a pool!”

The stage was one stop on an extensive tour of the cramped quarters experienced by nearly a thousand students from Brewster, Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleet and from other towns, including Chatham and Harwich, via school choice. It was the same trek taken by representatives of the Massachusetts School Building Authority before that agency approved a feasibility study of possible improvements.

In the gym, Conrad told the committee about the school's unique bleachers, which aren't anchored to a wall. They're moved by a motor that is not unfamiliar with failure. Elsewhere, there are problems with the gym floor; down below, dehumidifiers work hard in the locker rooms, which have no elevator access. And in various hallways around the campus, you'll see wooden boards attached to the walls indicating where sections were removed to fix leaking pumps.

The cafeteria, when it's not being used by the wrestling and indoor track teams, hosts three lunch periods a day for 150 to 160 students at a time; the rest go “all over the campus” to eat, Conrad said.

Committee members picked their way through back hallways that held chairs and tables. “There's almost no storage on the campus,” the superintendent said.

High school facilities manager Bob Lewis pointed to the school's two original boilers, still in service, and a giant hot water tank. “Much of the plumbing coming out of here goes underground,” Conrad said. “There's a difference in temperature in all our buildings.”

The size of the school's music room gives new meaning to “jamming” with its close quarters. In a large hallway outside, there are areas for physical and occupational therapy; a curtain can be drawn for privacy. “Totally inadequate,” was Conrad's summation.

Nauset High's three shop rooms – clay, metal, and wood – are packed with supplies and tools, as well as works of art. “These are certified rooms,” Conrad said, “but they cannot continue as they are now.”

There are no common hallways in A Building, so the committee walked through classroom after classroom on its tour. In one, Roman history was being taught in a space that looked more like a bunker than a forum for learning about an empire.

But maintaining quality instruction has been part of Nauset's success, regardless of setting. Some academic courses are held in converted locker bays, which must help teachers encourage students to “learn one for the team!” Additional classrooms are high on the priority list for the renovation project. Nauset's science labs are also a priority, with even the most up-to-date room needing work.

After the tour, the committee elected Greg Levasseur of Brewster, who's served on his town's select board and finance committee, as its chairman. All meetings will be posted and open to the public.