The first proposal to build an elementary school on Derry Road was presented to the voters in March 1988 when they were asked to approve the construction of two 600 pupil elementary schools of identical design; one on the Pelham Road and one on Derry Road opposite Alvirne High School. Included within this plan was 1/2 day Kindergarten, the conversion of Webster School to SAU office space, and transferring Library Street School to the town for their use. 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. This school meeting was the largest and liveliest on record. After much heated discussion the plan was amended and later approved. The result being to build one 800 pupil school on the Pelham Road at a cost of $7.3 million; later this new school was officially named Nottingham West Elementary.
Proposals for the Derry Road elementary school came before the voters again in March 1998 with a $7.5 million bond issue to build on land adjacent and south of Alvirne High School. A separate warrant article proposed 1/2 day Kindergarten at a cost of $1.8 million for 10 classrooms, with 75% being funded by the state. The voters of Hudson rejected both articles.
Long term Superintendent Peter Dolloff retired and within three years Randy Bell was hired as Superintendent. With this new leadership the School Board, School Administration, parents and individuals of Hudson worked together in order to solve the problems of space and class sizes within our schools. Focusing on the building issues a $17.6 million warrant article was presented to the deliberative session on February 2000 which included the cost of the land plus construction of a new elementary school on land adjacent to Alvirne as well as renovations and an addition to Memorial school. When the votes were counted in March this proposal was approved. This was a landmark decision by Hudson voters. The School Board gave credit to the community and various committees working together. Under the direction of the Building Committee Chairman, Bernard C. Manor, the new school was scheduled for completion for September 2001. The improvements at Memorial School were scheduled for Spring 2002.
By the beginning of the 2001 school year Hills Garrison was completed so as to provide elementary education for 512 students in grades 1-5 plus facilities for pre-school. The total school enrollment for Hudson that year was 4,100. The photo of the Hills Garrison School is courtesy of the Hudson School District.
On October 6, 2001 Hills Garrison school was officially dedicated to the citizens of Hudson for their generosity, support, and devotion to the students of Hudson. The school was named for the long standing contribution to the town by the Hills Family. A brief history of the Hills family was a part of this dedication. Paul Hills, a direct descendent of Joseph Hills, and members of his family were present for this event. The photo of the dedication plaque is provided courtesy of the Hills Garrison School staff.
A short time later the Hills Garrison marker was relocated onto the grounds of this school from it’s Webster Street location where it had been placed by Kimball Webster in 1901. Photo of garrison marker on school ground is courtesy of the author.
Public kindergarten and more specifically the responsibility for funding continued as a discussion point until 2009 when, after years of debate and discussion the Hudson school system provided 1/2 day Kindergarten.