JAY — The RSU 73 board Wednesday night unanimously approved bonding a $1.8 million project to house all Spruce Mountain High School students in Jay starting next fall.
But before the construction project can go ahead, voters in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls must approve the funding at referendums in their towns.
A public hearing on the project is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 8, 2013, in the Spruce Mountain Middle School cafeteria. The referendum is set for Jan. 15.
If voters approve the proposal, Bunker and Savage architect Craig Boone said work would begin in early spring and be completed in August.
The district wants to have the 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders at Spruce Mountain High School in Livermore Falls housed with the ninth, 10th-, 11th- and 12-graders at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay.
Now, buses transport students back and forth each day to classes that are offered only on one campus or the other.
Superintendent Robert Wall said the costs associated with that extra transportation can be used toward the renovation, if approved.
Residents in Livermore, Jay and Livermore Falls approved consolidating the former RSU 36 district with the Jay School Department in the summer of 2011. Voters turned down a proposed $5.3 million building addition for the Jay high school last May.
Wall said the district is applying for an interest-free loan through a Quality Schools program. If any part of the funding needed for the renovation project is approved by the program, the yearly payment would be less than what it would be at 3 to 4.25 percent, which were the rates used in the presentation.
Wall said money owed on the middle school and Livermore Elementary School will be paid off in a few years.
Since residents turned down the building project in May, the board and others have been researching ways to find the space for all high school students in Jay. The plan includes creating several classrooms in the high school by dividing large classrooms into smaller ones and reconfiguring parts of the library, hallway and other parts of the school; changing the use of some of the rooms in the middle school; and redeveloping space in the adjacent Community Building.
In addition, all bathrooms will become handicapped accessible, lighting will be made more energy efficient, and telecommunications and other technology will be upgraded.