OXFORD — Classrooms at the Agnes Gray School in West Paris now have huge white ventilators bringing in fresh air and heat to classrooms.

They take up a lot of space, but at least one teacher has found a way to make the unit a less obtrusive part of the classroom.

“They’re magnetic,” said fourth-grade teacher Catherine Bickford who can use the wall space that was lost when the units were installed to hang students’ work and other items with magnets.

Facilities Director David Marshall said the decision was made to install tall, rather than long units, because they take up less wall space. And, he said, they are made for teachers to use.

“They work good as a whiteboard, too,” he said.

The ventilators, which bring in outside air that passes through heating coils to replace outdated radiators, are part of the $1.1 million districtwide school renovation project that began last year and is 98 percent complete, according to Marshall.

“We’re fine-tuning things,” said Marshall, who told the Oxford Hills School District Board of Directors last week that $95,000 has been withheld from the contractor while “punch list” items and training are addressed.

Last year, voters in eight towns will go to the polls Tuesday to act on a request by school district officials to bond more than $1.1 million in capital improvement projects at eight of the district’s 10 schools.

The approval allowed the district to bond $1,174,085 of which 58 percent will be “forgiven.” Only $412,00 of that $1.1 million will have to be paid back and with no interest due.

Work has been ongoing for the last year on the various projects that are all designed to address health, safety and American With Disabilities Act issues.

Issues at every school except the new Hebron Station Elementary and Paris Elementary School have been addressed with the money, according to officials.

In addition to the $164,600 worth of work at the Agnes Gray School, $41,550 was spent at the Harrison Elementary School to upgrade the fire alarm system and automatic door openers; $56,355 at the Waterford Memorial School for fire alarm upgrades and automatic doors openers; $104,155 at the Otisfield Community School for fire alarm upgrades, water fountains and door openers meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

At the Oxford Elementary School, $128,100 was spent for new sidewalks, fire alarm system upgrade and automatic door openers. The Legion Memorial School in West Paris received $61,095 in upgrades to the fire alarm and emergency lighting system, ventilators, access ramp and bathroom upgrades to meet federal ADA requirements.

At Oxford Hills Middle School in Paris, $193,000 was spent to address indoor air quality concerns, $143,400 for fire safety issues and $84,000 to meet ADA requirements.

The Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway had $133,837 spent on fire alarm upgrades and handicapped accessible toilets, and $50,375 at the school’s annex for fire alarm and exit light upgrades and handicapped accessible bathrooms.

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Gaby Mills, a fourth-grade student at Agnes Gray School in West Paris, reads a book in her classroom Friday while seated in front of the large air ventilator and heater. The units, which bring in air from outside to be heated, can be used to display items and as marker boards.

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