AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amherst-Pelham Regional School district is making progress on plans for a new elementary school building. This project is meant to replace two elementary school buildings that were built 50 years ago.

The students of Wildwood and Fort River elementary schools are getting a new home. It promises to be a state-of-the-art facility with members of the design team truly considering every detail, as they bring the two former elementary schools under one, modern roof.

Mike Morris, the Superintendent of Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools told 22News, “To think of the advances of the last 50 years like acoustic privacy, air flow, ventilation, comfort, and natural light coming in. We studied 18 different window arrangements to make sure enough light is coming in without getting glare.”

The list of contributors to the project is almost as long as the list of things to consider.

“My vantage point is different than the teachers, which is different than a community member or a parent. It’s also different than police and fire, and community responders,” added Morris, “So, we feel like we’re getting the best recipe, because we are getting feedback from people who use the school differently.”

The three-story school project proposed for the south end of the Fort River school is going to change the lives of families in this area.

“There’s a lot of people in our community who play softball, ultimate frisbee, soccer. We know it is a school, but after school, it’s a community resource.”

The final design will be submitted to the state in January, followed by a town approval vote in May. One last thing to note about this extensive project is it’s being designed as a net-zero facility.

If all goes according to plan the new Fort River school will open its doors in 2026.