School expansions big part of Lewiston's capital budget plan

LEWISTON — Need for room at Lewiston Middle School and the city's elementary schools is pushing the capital budget for the city, staff said Tuesday.

City Administrator Ed Barrett presented a list of capital projects across the city to a joint meeting of the City Council, Planning Board and Finance Committee.

All told, the city's Capital Improvement Program outlines $151 million in road and building construction, renovations and equipment purchases over the next five years.

It's not a binding spending plan but a to-do list that staff will use to help prepare the fiscal year 2012-13 budget, Barrett said.

"It's not at all unusual for us to get into the budget process for you to start weighing priorities to have changes and adjustments to the plan made," Barrett said.

A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, during the City Council's regular meeting. Councilors are scheduled to vote on the plan at their Feb. 21 meeting.

It was the first time in two years that the School Department had participated in the capital plan, Barrett said.

The school's new facility plan demonstrated the need for expansion at several schools, Superintendent Bill Webster said. The plan includes a $5.5 million expansion at McMahon Elementary School in 2014, building a new $17 million elementary school in 2017 and three phases of expansion at Lewiston Middle School.

The first phase, a $3.5 million project scheduled for 2013, would add fire sprinklers to the middle school building and bring it up to code. The second phase, calling for $5 million of work in 2014, would add four classrooms and renovate the entrance.

Webster said he did not have cost estimates for the third phase, which would add another four classrooms in 2015.

On the city side, projects scheduled for this year, the 2011-12 fiscal year, include an expanded property-demolition effort, work at the Lewiston Public Library and updated maps for the city's Geographic Information System.

The plan calls for $1.1 million in road paving and $607,000 in road rehabilitation projects.

According to Barrett, the city has $161 million in outstanding debt as of Dec. 31, 2011. That includes $61.2 million for the city, $37.4 million for the schools and $37.4 million for Lewiston's water, sewer and storm-water utilities, among other debt.

Debt payments, about $8.4 million in 2013, amount to about 12.4 percent of the city's operating budget, he said.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Peter Blake's picture

surprised

Not at all,if you chose that accept all the refuges and their families and their relatives and they keep having more and more children. Why should Lewiston be surprised about needing more classroom space, having to move seniors out of their comfort zone spaces, adding classrooms and bonding for large projects that the state won't fund.
Examine a map and you will see that where the expansions are like McMahon have a large immigrant population in public supported housing.

Driving the local population out of once all white areas in other areas. Catholic Charities of Maine brought these refugees here and dumped them on the city of Lewiston. That church ought to pay for their education costs, etc, oh I forgot that they probably haven't any money after all the sexual crimes committed by their priest and then having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements for each one.

It is an interesting contrast Pedophiles and Refugee support. Then the burden falls on the city. No one in Lewiston asked for all these people and did anyone ever look at the long term impact? I doubt it, they probably just said save these poor people... Damn they weren't even Christians. Shouldn't the Catholic Church save those people first?

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Here is an idea for Bates

Here is an idea for Bates Mill....turn it into a new school to handle the over crowding we are experiencing....it would make a nice middle school and that would free the middle school up to help with the overcrowding at the elementary schools.

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