MANCHESTER – On Monday night the Board of School Committee approved a series of recommendations on school facilities, including the closure of Wilson Elementary, additions and renovations at all four middle schools, and the construction of a new elementary school at a site to be determined. 

The recommendations approved Monday must now go to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for final approval. The recommendations are also contingent on several factors, including accepting additional state funding and receiving 

“This is another huge step forward to ensure that all of our students have access to modern learning environments that meet their needs and support their growth,” Superintendent Jennifer Chmiel Gillis said. “With our schools aging well past the recommended lifespan, we do not have the luxury of continuing to wait to take action. I thank the board for its thoughtful support of these recommendations, and we are eager to bring this forward to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration.” 

The vote comes a year after the board approved the District’s “3-4-12” concept model for school buildings – three high schools, four middle schools and 12 elementary schools. In early spring 2023, the board approved the selection of architectural-engineering firm SMMA to support the District in developing a long-term master plan for school buildings. 

The recommendations moved forward Monday night include the following:

  • Wilson Elementary School would close at the end of the 2023-2024 school year

  • All Wilson students and staff would be split between Beech or McDonough to start the 2024-2025 school year

  • A new elementary school would be built at a site to be determined, with work potentially beginning in the fall of 2024 (note: this is a change from the initial recommendation)

  • Hillside and McLaughlin Middle Schools would expand to include  fifth grade students for the first time, beginning in the fall of 2024. Elementary schools would no longer include fifth grade students. 

  • New modular classrooms will be placed at Beech, McDonough, Parkside, Southside, McLaughlin and Hillside in June 2024 for use beginning in fall 2024. The use of new modular classroom space at these locations is intended to be short-term to facilitate the construction timeline.

  • Renovations and additions will be added to all four middle schools. Hillside and McLaughlin will be the first two middle schools to see construction start, in fall 2024. Parkside and Southside construction will begin approximately 9 months after the start of the Hillside and McLaughlin projects.

  • Initial siting for a new build High School will continue in the Priority Two planning.

You can view the full presentation slides from Monday’s meeting at You can find more information on Manchester’s long-term facilities planning at