Story Behind Nottingham West Elementary
Hudson’s Nottingham West Elementary School off of Lowell Road on Pelham Road, was built on Jacques Field. This property was purchased by the Hudson School District in 1966 in order to assure the town of a future school location. Some 23 years later Nottingham West Elementary was ready for occupancy.
Alfred A. Jacques, native to Lowell, and Yvonne I Rodier, native to Nashua, were married in Nashua October 1924. Soon thereafter they moved to Hudson and raised their family of a daughter and two sons. Their daughter Denise was born in Hudson April 1927 and passed at the age of 9 in November 1936. Their sons were Alfred E. born July 1931 and Paul E. born August 1943. When they first moved to Hudson they likely lived with his parents on Lowell Road. By March 1938 they purchased their 20 acre farm on Pelham Road from Eva Kashulines. Here the family remained until 1966 when the property was sold to the Hudson School District. Alfred A. was a farmer and operated a market garden until about 1977 when he was employed by F. H. Bailey and Sons Inc in Nashua, a large florist and flower grower. After selling their property Alfred and Yvonne retired to Orange City, FL. He passed away there on Jan 11, 1969 at the age of 72. He was laid to rest in the family lot of St. Francis Zavier cemetery in Nashua.
By the late 1960’s Hudson Memorial School on Thorning Road, a middle school, was in full use and an addition had been approved by the Hudson voters. In 1970 and again in 1971 voters defeated attempts to hire an architect to develop plans for an elementary school on Jacques field. In 1972 the attempt was successful as voters approved $32,000 for architect drawings for this school.
By the mid 1970’s a number of big changes had occurred in Hudson. Alvirne was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Enrollment at St. John’s school on Library Street was on the decline and the school was scheduled to close by June 1975. The St. John’s and Hudson School Boards worked together on a transition plan. After leasing the school from the Diocese for a year Hudson purchased the property in March 1977 and renamed it Library Street Elementary School. The purchase cost was $615,000; a big savings over the cost of new construction. This removed the pressure to plan for and approve construction at Jacques field.
As school growth continued, the need became reality and additional classroom space was necessary. At the 1988 School District Meeting voters were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil schools of identical design. One school on the Pelham Road site and the second on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School on the former Morey property. Included in this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, converting Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town. The cost of this plan was $12.57 million. There was also an option to enlarge each school to 800 pupils for an additional $1.23 million.
The March 25, 1988 Annual School District meeting was the largest and liveliest on record as some 850 voters met in the Memorial School Auditorium. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved to build 1 800 pupil school at a cost of $7.3 million. Kindergarten, Webster school and Library Street School changes were not part of the approved plan. Construction was quickly started with a scheduled opening of September 1989. During August 1989 the School Board officially adopted the name Nottingham West Elementary in recognition of our town’s former name. The schedule was met and the school was in use at the beginning of September. An open house was held on October 5, 1989 where 1,000 townspeople viewed their new 800 pupil school. At that time the actual enrollment was 600 pupils.
At the close of the first school year on June 21, 1990 at 9:30 am the students burred a time capsule containing first year memorabilia. This capsule was to be dug up in 10 years at the same time of the day. I am not aware of what was found in the capsule. If any of you readers know, please let me know by sending email to HudsonHistorical@live.com.
In the fall of 1993 the gym at Nottingham West was dedicated to the memory of Barbara Hamilton, much appreciated recreational director for Hudson. Barbara passed suddenly in early September at the age of 46. The dedication plaque in Barbara’s memory is shown in our second photo. Within the school this plaque is mounted on a wall surrounded by individual tiles made by students of Nottingham West in 1993.
Today Nottingham West is one of four elementary schools in Hudson. Grades 2 – 5 are split between this school and Hills Garrison School on Derry Road. In addition all preschool sessions are held at Nottingham West. The school colors are navy blue and gold and the mascot is the wildcat. Thanks to the staff of Nottingham West Elementary for the photos. Written by Ruth Parker this article was published in the September 6, 2020 edition of The Telegraph.