Livermore Falls high school closure, building addition votes outlined

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LIVERMORE FALLS — A referendum to close the high school in Livermore Falls will be held in Livermore and Livermore Falls on Tuesday, April 3.

Voters in those towns will decide whether they want to keep the Spruce Mountain High School South Campus open. If both towns choose to keep it open, taxpayers would be responsible to share the $650,758.79 operating cost.

If one town votes to close, it will close.

The vote will occur in the two towns that send the most students to the school.

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Voters in Jay, where the Spruce Mountain High School North Campus is, will not take part in the vote.

A public hearing on the vote will occur before voting day, RSU 73 Superintendent Robert Wall told the school board Thursday.

The board will hold a special meeting Wednesday, April 4, to certify the vote.

A referendum to build an addition to the Jay school will be held Tuesday, May 8, in all three towns. A public hearing on the addition proposal will be held Tuesday, April 24.

There are two board subcommittees developing recommendations on what to do with closed schools in Livermore Falls, what type of addition is needed at Jay to house all students, and the cost.

Both committees’ recommendations will be sent to the RSU 73 board’s facilities committee, which will decide what to bring to the whole school board.

The Building Addition Subcommittee will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the library of the Jay high school. The plan is to tour both the high school and middle school in Jay.

Chairwoman Mary Redmond-Luce said she still needs a community volunteer from Livermore and Livermore Falls to serve on that committee. Anyone interested is asked to call the superintendent’s office at 897-6772.

Building Disposition panel Chairwoman Jackie Knight said that committee is full and has met twice.

They toured the middle school in Livermore Falls, which is partially closed with only the gym/stage area and the locker rooms kept open for athletics and performances.

The committee is exploring a variety of options, including demolishing the former academic wing.

Spruce Mountain High School Drama Director Anne Weatherbee is interested in developing a performing arts center in the gym/stage portion of the school, Knight said.

Area Youth Sports is interested in making it a home for area sports programs, she said.

Both would need outside funding, because the district could not afford to pay to keep the building going another year, Knight said.

Wall estimated it would cost $98,000. It costs $16,000 to heat just the gym section of the building, he said.

The board will have to come up with a solution, because the budget would not be able to handle it, he said.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done to the building if it stays open, including an estimated of $170,000 for roofing.

If the building has to be demolished, the district will need to develop a plan to do so, if voters in Livermore Falls reject taking the building back. Otherwise, he said, the district would be leaving the problem for another generation.

“Keeping the building like it is, is not an option,” Wall said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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