DIXFIELD — Applications to the state to get on a list to construct an elementary school and a high school for Regional School Unit 10 will likely get going this summer, Superintendent Tom Ward said.
“This is planning for the future,” he said at Monday's school board meeting. “There will be all kinds of public hearings. We feel we have to do this for the future of the RSU.”
Ward said a minimum of eight years is needed from application to construction, if the building project is approved by state authorities.
RSU 10 comprises 12 towns: Rumford, Mexico, Byron and Roxbury from the former SAD 43; Dixfield, Canton, Carthage and Peru from the former SAD 21; Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner from the former SAD 39, and the town of Hanover.
The tentative plan calls for building one elementary school for prekindergarten-through-grade-five students who attend Meroby Elementary School in Mexico and Rumford Elementary School in Rumford. The two schools have just over 500 students.
But with the population in Rumford, Mexico and Roxbury continuing to drop, according to the 2010 census, a new school may not have such a high enrollment.
Rumford lost about 600 residents since the 2000 census, Mexico about 300, Roxbury about 15, and Hanover about 15. Byron gained about 25 people.
Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru populations remained about the same, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while Hartford, Buckfield and Sumner gained about 600 residents.
The location of a new elementary school has not been decided.
Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Dirigo High School in Dixfield, and Buckfield Junior-Senior High School in Buckfield could possibly merge into one school for grades nine to 12. A location has not been decided.
The state must evaluate the district's building needs, Ward said.
In a related matter, Ward said RSU 10 will also apply this summer to the state building renovation revolving loan to provide for projects such as new roofs, ventilation, windows, siding and heating.