RSU 73 voters approve $1.8M school renovation work


LIVERMORE FALLS — Residents of all three towns in RSU 73 passed a $1.8 million renovation and reuse project Tuesday by an unofficial vote of 449-331.

Town clerks in Livermore, Jay, and Livermore Falls all said the voter
turnout was very low.

Livermore residents voted 106-90; Livermore Falls, 91-79; and Jay, 252-162.

Next, the RSU 73 board will meet at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, to validate the vote. Advertisements will go out for a request for qualifications for an architect next week. Bonds will be issued at a later time.

“We’re very pleased with the support from the community and look forward to moving on with this project,” Superintendent Robert Wall said Tuesday night.

Last week, Wall said that the state’s Quality Schools Construction Bond program had authorized a virtually no interest rate on $745,238 of the total needed to transform a portion of Spruce Mountain High School, north campus, a section of Spruce Mountain Middle School, and most of the Jay Community Building into sufficient space to accommodate all 500 secondary students from the north campus, and the south campus in Livermore Falls.

The remaining just over $1 million will likely be borrowed from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, Wall said.

Plans are to close the academic wing of the former Livermore Falls High School on June 30, while retaining use of the gym, stage and other non-academic sections for other purposes, including relocating the RSU 73 Adult and Community Education program from the Jay Community Building.

The project is expected to be completed by time students return from
summer vacation.

Renovations include changing two or three of the large classrooms in the academic wing of SMHS, north, into six or seven classrooms, creating another classroom from a portion of the weight room, enlarging the cafeteria; renovating the section of SMMS closest to the high school into classrooms for secondary students; building a connector between the high and middle schools, and renovating a large portion of the Jay Community Building into additional classrooms, bathrooms, offices and storage spaces for use primarily by middle school students.

Wall had said last week that if the renovation and reuse project was voted down, the district would lease two portable units that would house a total of 10 classrooms so that all RSU 73 high school students could be housed on one campus.