July 20, 2023 | Derry, NH

Demolition at Pinkerton Paves Way For New Building

By Julie Huss – Staff Writer | Derry News

DERRY — An aging social studies wing at Pinkerton Academy has been partially demolished to help pave the way for the school’s new building project.

Recently parts of the old building that housed social studies and other classes for decades were torn down as Pinkerton plans for a new three-story building that will house classrooms and offer additional spaces to support other Pinkerton programs.

The space was once known as the Robert Frost English Wing, built in the 1970s and now showing its age, officials said.

“The current building does not meet the growing needs of the programs housed there and was identified as an area of concern in the school’s most recent reaccreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges,” according to a school press release.

Built in the early 1970s as a temporary building to meet the classroom needs of a growing student population, the structure had been used well beyond its projected lifespan, according to the release.

Pinkerton Academy Head of School Dr. Timothy Powers came before the Derry Planning Board earlier this year to give highlights of the new building plan, a much-needed project that will help meet the school’s needs not only in classroom space, but also with additional spaces to support other programs including the school’s special education programs ACT, and the New England Center for Children program.

The project will cost approximately $20.7 million.

In recent years, the number of students in these programs increased, along with the variety of their needs. Space requirements conducive to their life and learning needs will be a central focus of the project.

Powers said earlier this year that the new building will have half the footprint of the old one, and will include updated parking areas, as well as better interior design to help students, staff and those visiting better navigate the building. There will be more green space surrounding the building as an added feature.

The project will be done in phases, beginning this summer and into next year.

A portion of the old building will remain in use for a time during the work.

In the spring of 2025, the second phase will involve taking down the remainder of the old building, with the new building occupied that year.

The final phase is paving and striping parking areas.

This student-centered project is the result of the leadership and commitment of Pinkerton Academy Board of Trustees, along with years of partnership with school administration, faculty, and staff.

Pinkerton currently serves about 3,200 students, with 530 employees and is the high school of record for Derry, Chester, Hampstead, Auburn, Candia and Hooksett.

The community is invited to learn more about the construction project and its progress at pinkertonacademy.org/ssbuilding.

Prior to the recent demolition work, Derry firefighters used the building as a training tool, focusing on cutting through the roof and blasting through walls.