FARMINGTON – SAD 9 now has two schools on the state’s protected major capital school construction project list.

The Mt. Blue High School and Foster Regional Applied Technology Center, and the W.G. Mallett School, both in Farmington, are listed as Nos. 18 and 20, respectively.

The schools were added to the 2004-05 list along with five other schools in mid-July after the Maine Department of Education received an increase in the amount of debt it can incur, Scott Brown, director of the department’s school facility program, said Friday.

Brown said being on the list twice means that the district is assured two projects would go through the process and get funding.

It’s good news for SAD 9, Superintendent Mike Cormier said.

Placement on the state’s approved projects list is an acknowledgment that the pupils in the facility have a significant need to be housed under improved circumstances, according to the state’s Web site: www.state.me.us/education/const. It does not assure replacement of the facilities that received the rating.

Getting on the list is a big step but the major work is just beginning.

Before the schools even get touched there will be building construction committees formed, planning discussed, two straw votes for residents of nine towns, a referendum and other activities in a 42-step process.

The district has been trying to get the schools on the state list for years.

The projects, for which there are no details or decisions made yet, would include increasing space at the high school to get rid of 15 portable classrooms and upgrades to the building, and determining whether the Mallett School, built in the 1930s, could be retrofitted to update it or a new one would have to be built.

The latter school serves students from several towns. It still has horsehair plaster, plumbing sealed in its walls and asbestos.

The state will decide whether to put money into the school or look at building a new school, Cormier said. They want to make sure a school will last the next 50 years before major money is put into it, he said.

He said he doubts the state would put money in the Mallett School.

Cormier said if the district can get these two schools upgraded, all the buildings would be in good shape.

Building Construction Committees for both schools will be set up. Cormier said he and Assistant Superintendent Sue Pratt are discussing each taking one school project.

Concept approvals are slated to be given by Dec. 31, 2008, if everything is approved through the previous steps including state and local approval, Brown said.

Some of the projects on the 20-school state list will go quicker, others will go slower, Brown said.

“I’m still working on projects from five years ago,” he said.


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