JAY — Selectpersons and town managers from the three communities in RSU 73 got a chance Tuesday night, some for the first time, to see what $1.8 million bought for Spruce Mountain High School’s renovation and reuse project.

It seemed to be quite a bit to Jay Selectman Stephen McCourt.

“For the amount of money you’ve spent, you’ve done a very good job,” McCourt said following the 75-minute tour.

The tour took five Livermore Falls selectmen with Town Manager Kristal Flagg, five Jay selectmen with Town Manager Ruth Cushman and two Livermore selectmen with Administrative Assistant Kurt Schaub from one end of the project at the high school to the soon-to-be voting area for the town of Jay.

Spruce Mountain High School Principal TJ Plourde and Spruce Mountain Middle School Principal Scott Albert showed where the high school classes ended in a portion of the middle school and where the middle school classrooms began.

The project began when classes ended in June, and it is nearly finished. Only the connector between the high and middle schools must be completed, as well as a portable wall installed in one of the larger classrooms and a few minor odds and ends.

The renovation was needed to accommodate all secondary students in one location. Plourde said 490 high school students were enrolled as of Oct. 1.

Although some of the classrooms in the significantly renovated portion of the Jay Community Building could still feel vibrations or hear the noise coming from the gym above, Plourde said the teachers and students have become accustomed to it.

An art room, a health room and rooms for the district’s middle and high school alternative education programs and the Crossroads Program are among the classrooms affected by the vibrations.

The space that will soon serve as the Jay voting area and storage for the Jay Police Department will be ready in time for the November election, Plourde said.

Following the tour, the selectmen and administrators met with Superintendent Robert Wall and six of the Regional School Unit 73 board members to hear a presentation on the costs saved as a result of the 2011 merger of RSU 36 in Livermore Falls and the Jay School Department. He said a net savings of more than $300,000 was realized, while offering students more classes and services.

They also had a few questions.

McCourt was told by Plourde in answer to a question that the new renovation allows for a slight student population increase.

Several asked that the district schedule its annual budget vote at the same time the member towns hold their town meeting-style referendums.

“It would save money and increase turnout,” Cushman said. “As town manager, I’d like to see us mesh together.”

Wall said the towns’ requests to place both municipal and school budgets on the ballot at the same time will be considered.


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