RSU 73 panel faces 2 options to house high school students

LIVERMORE FALLS — The Regional School Unit 73 facilities committee has narrowed its options to two in order to house high school students, Superintendent Robert Wall said Monday.

The committee and others at the Nov. 29 meeting reached a consensus on consolidation options to explore, he said

One option is to combine high school students at the north campus at the high school in the fall of 2012, if it is feasible to have an addition completed at that building to make it able to accommodate and serve all students and programming, he said.

There was some discussion concerning the ability to actually be in a building with an addition by that time, he said. They extended the option to the time when that building may be serviceable, possibly during December break.

The second option is having all ninth-grade students at the north campus in Jay and having both high schools operational for 2012-13 while an addition is being built, he said. Spruce Mountain High School has two campuses, one in Jay and one in Livermore Falls. The north campus would serve grades nine, 10, 11 and 12 and the south campus in Livermore Falls would serve grades 10, 11 and 12, Wall said.

This included the concept that all students would attend the Jay site in 2013, he said.

No final decisions have been made, Wall said.

Ongoing work is taking place to provide information to the facilities committee so that it may discuss the feasibility of both options, he said.

It is expected the facilities committee will vote to recommend an option to the whole school board at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 19, at the Cedar Street Learning Complex in Livermore Falls. The committee will also be examining financial information on the options, he said.

RSU 73 directors will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Learning Complex to consider the committee's recommendation. It is expected the school board will consider a process vote to close the south campus on that night.

“I think everybody realizes it is going to be extremely difficult to run both high schools given decline in student enrollment, the cost of operation and the programs that could be offered,” Wall said.

The district could save money on cost per students if all high school students attended one site, he said.

Currently there are only 21 rooms at the Livermore Falls site.

It is also estimated to cost up to $2.8 million to bring that building up to code and in compliance with federal and state regulations. It is estimated that up to $1.3 million would need to be spent on the existing Jay school for the same reasons.

The move of students to the north campus should be accommodated by a proposed 16-room addition along with restructuring some of the existing space, Wall said.

The proposed addition would be built at the back of Jay school where the concert entrance leading to the gym is located, he said. A connector would be built to attach the buildings that would allow students to access the academic wing from the addition or from the existing building.

The concept seeks to support space and opportunities that will bring the high school program to the next phase with the added spaces. The concept would also support spaces for more science, technology, engineering and math to prepare students to explore career paths and vocations, Wall said.

He estimated the cost of the addition and bringing the Jay school up to code, along with creating more parking and buying new equipment and technology to be $4.5 million.

With the district's debt load declining and the cost savings of running one high school, the tax impact is probably not going to be significant on taxpayers for the construction project, Wall said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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Comments

CAROL PARKER's picture

And the long term plan for the south campus is?

So basicly, both solutions involve the closing of the Livermore Falls buildings. Not sure, but the last time I checked 16 does not equal 21. I don't see how a 16 room addition is going to compensate for closing down 21 classrooms. Also, there is no plan for the Livermore Falls site when it is closed down. This was one of my questions when the whole consolidation thing started. I'm not interested in paying taxes to maintain TWO empty school buildings. I think the RSU needs to go back to the table and come up with something better. This whole consolidation thing has been nothing but a last minute duct-taped mess from day one.

Ellen Levesque's picture

This certainly is a much

This certainly is a much different story from what we were told during the consolidation meetings. A year ago we were told that there was room in Jay but they might have to have a few portables to get the students all in. Now they want to build a 16 room addition. It just goes to show that one can't trust the information they are given. With Jay taxpayers paying 71 % of the cost, this surely will impact taxes in one of the three towns.

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