LEWISTON — The state Board of Education has approved the concept design of a new elementary school on East Avenue, Superintendent Bill Webster said Thursday.

The unanimous vote was held Wednesday in Augusta.

The 880-student school would be for students at Martel and Longley schools, and take another 150 students from other schools to relieve overcrowding. The project would also include new athletic fields for high school students and community walking trails.

If approved by voters, it would open in the fall of 2019.

The state’s approval includes the size of the building, how all rooms would be used, the plan for the site across from The Green Ladle at Lewiston Regional Technical Center, the number of parking spaces and the maximum budget of $49.7 million.

Included in the state-approved budget is two-thirds of the cost to air condition the building.

“I made the case, which they accepted, that we are looking for a full-day summer program that could serve students across Lewiston, and this would be the ideal place.”

Webster also said Head Start programs require air conditioning for pre-K and kindergarten students.

“We would like to have summer programs for that age group,” he said.

The approval of the concept plan and budget allows Lewiston officials to bring the proposal to a public referendum June 14.

The state will pay $49.7 million for the project. If Lewiston wants a regulation-size gym, artificial turf for the high school baseball and field hockey team, local property taxpayers would pay $2.1 million. That would mean an additional $9 in taxes on a property valued at $150,000.

The two questions on the June 14 ballot are:

• Whether to approve the $49.7 school.

• Whether to spend $2.1 million for a larger gym and artificial turf.


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