Amherst Media explores moving to high school

  • An artist’s rendering shows what Amherst Media initially planned to build on two parcels it owns downtown. ​​​​​​Amherst town website

Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2019 7:15:34 PM

AMHERST — Officials with Amherst Media are approaching the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee about whether its headquarters could be incorporated into space at the high school.

Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz, president of the board of directors of Amherst Media, recently sent a letter to the committee and its chairman, Eric Nakajima, requesting that a dialogue begin on whether the high school might have room for the public access and technology center.

“While we are exploring the construction of a new facility on property we bought in 2013, including a redesign of our new building, we have also begun to consider potential alternatives,” Shabazz wrote.

Currently located in a building on College Street, Amherst Media has faced eviction from property owner Eversource and has been developing plans to build a new studio on two lots on Main Street. A Planning Board hearing on these plans is scheduled for July.

“This is Amherst Media looking for options in case the construction of our new facility does not move forward,” Amherst Media Executive Director Jim Lescault said. 

 In addition to overseeing the public access, educational and government television channels for Amherst, Amherst Media broadcasts numerous public meetings and locally originated programs.

School Committee Chairman Eric Nakajima told his colleagues there has been some initial outreach about this possibility. A recently finished facilities-use study has provided information about how the high school and other school buildings could be used by other entities.

In her letter, Shabazz also wrote: “We realize there is much to be considered with such a proposal, including whether we would bring additional enrichment in programming and other opportunities to the regional high school population.”

Last summer, the high school building was modified to accommodate Summit Academy, which had previously been situated in a separate building in South Amherst. This was done by taking over space previously used by the preschool and culinary arts programs.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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