GREENE – The architect for SAD 52’s planned renovations called the half-century-old Greene Central School congested, crowded and badly in need of repair at an informational meeting Tuesday night.

The district is making similar presentations at meetings in Leeds and Turner this week.

The district has set a target date of Sept. 23 for a referendum vote on several school projects that are expected to carry a price tag of between $5 million and $7 million. The exact costs have not been determined yet. Also, according to SAD 52 Business Manager Chris Trenholm, the district may be eligible for funding under the state’s Revolving Renovation Fund where 63 percent of approved funds are forgiven. The reminder would be an interest-free loan with a term of either five or 10 years. Between 90 and 95 percent of the costs of the projects will be locally funded.

The addition in Greene would be about 20,000 square feet. There would also be extensive renovations to existing space, additional parking and better bus access. Other plans include improvements to parking and bus access at Leeds Central School and a 9,000-square-foot addition and renovations at Tripp Middle School in Turner.

Trenholm explained that the state Department of Education has been phasing out state funding for leased space. Currently SAD 52 has four leased portable classrooms. Two of them are located in Greene.

The oldest section of Greene Central School was built in 1954. An addition was added in 1964 and the K-2 wing and the gymnasium were built in 1978.

“Greene was the last school on the master plan list (for school renovations) 15 years ago, and all the others are done,” said architect Noel Smith of Smith, Reuter, Lull in Lewiston, the firm designing all of the SAD 52 projects.

“The outside walls of this gymnasium are cracking,” Smith said. Structural repairs and a new roof are needed on that newest addition to the school, he said. The tiles on the gym floor contain asbestos and will be replaced with a wood floor. Space to store coats and boots during winter months is lacking, even in the 1978 addition.

The building also needs renovations to restrooms that include handicap accessibility.

Smith also noted that the two boilers in the school need to be updated. One was installed in 1954 and the other in 1978. There are also issues of ventilation and a need for additional windows in several areas of the school.

He said that while the oldest section of the building is structurally sound, the walls contain materials that could be flammable. Other problems also need to be corrected. “There are rodents living in the outside walls,” Smith said.

“We began three years ago looking at the building. We came back with items that were too large to include in the budget,” said Wallace Veilleux of the Greene School Committee. Subsequently the SAD 52 board established a building steering committee.

On March 7, voters approved $117,000 to fund the acquisition of land adjacent to the Greene school. The district is in the process of purchasing that parcel. “So, now the design of the building can proceed. We couldn’t have done it without that property,” Veilleux said.

Voters in March also approved bonding to raise $840,000 for roof repairs at Leavitt Area High School in Turner.

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