LEWISTON — The $45.8 million Robert V. Connors Elementary School is big — 100-plus rooms big — and scheduled to open in August 2019.

Mark Donovan, project manager for general contractor PC Construction Co. of Burlington, Vermont, and Lewiston Schools Superintendent Bill Webster gave the Sun Journal a tour of the two-story building Tuesday near Bartlett Street.

Walking into an unfinished room on the first floor, Webster showed off pre-kindergarten classrooms with cubbyholes, plenty of closet space, sinks, and doors that connect two classrooms.

Nearby, he walked into another room. “This is a first grade,” he said. It has white walls with one purple one. Each classroom will have a bright accent wall, color coded by grade. 

Workers are everywhere, installing wires to go behind ceiling tiles. Blue wires are for data, red ones for wireless access, green ones for voices and a speaker.

Upstairs, sixth-grade classrooms have a yellow accent wall and look out over East Avenue.

There are be six classrooms for each grade, pre-K through six. Grades pre-K through second will be on the first floor, grades three through six on the second.

The school has large “mechanical rooms” where huge ceiling ducts for air flow, gas-powered heating and cooling will be overseen. There’s another large mechanical room on the top level, which leads to a rooftop door. 

Because the school is below the level of nearby East Avenue and Bartlett Street, the views from windows, especially on the second floor, are of trees. Who knew East Avenue and Bartlett Street had so many trees?

Students will have a state-of-the-art library, a full-sized gym and plenty of room for outdoor play.  There will be art rooms, music rooms, a STEM lab, a nurse’s office, a large cafeteria and full-sized gymnasium with a wooden floor. A stage that opens up to both the gym and cafeteria is in the middle. 

There are LED lights that can be dimmed in classrooms according to the amount of natural light from windows.

Outside, the red brick facade is complete and site work is 85 to 90 percent finished, Donovan said. In the spring the final paving, curbing, seeding and landscaping will be done, he said.

All but $2.1 million of the $45.8 million cost will be paid by the state; the rest by Lewiston taxpayers. 

The school, named after the former Lewiston schools superintendent, was scheduled to be completed July 1, but the finish date is now May 14, 2019.

Between now and then, 100 workers will be installing wiring, ceilings, flooring, sound insulation and building bathrooms. Lots of bathrooms.

Unlike most schools, Connors Elementary won’t have bathrooms for groups of students to use at once. Instead, there’ll be one single bathroom for each of the 48 regular classrooms, plus another 28, for a total of 76 in the building.

“When you look at all the areas where there’s been discipline or behavioral issues, bathrooms are near the top of the list,” Webster said. Bathrooms for each class that only one student can use at a time will reduce discipline problems, he said.

The 143,000-square-foot school is nearly two and a half times the size of the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.

It’s built for 888 students from Martel and Longley schools, plus 100 from other schools. However, Webster said enrollment is expected to be about 750 when it opens next summer.

Lewiston schools will have something that hasn’t been available in years: Room for growth, he said. Compared to Martel and Longley, Connors school “is going to be so much more comfortable and pleasant. We’re going to be able to offer services that we’re not in the present schools, everything from a full library to air conditioning,” he said.

That environment will improve discipline problems and boost student learning, Webster said. “It’s going to be a great school.”

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Lewiston Schools Superintendent Bill Webster, right, and construction project manager Mark Donovan look at plans in the cafeteria at the Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A worker is a blur as he wheels sheetrock down the first-floor hall at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Xavier Martinez pulls cables for data, speakers and other communications systems through the first-floor ceiling of the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Lewiston Schools Superintendent Bill Webster looks at plans in the cafeteria at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Lewiston Schools Superintendent Bill Webster peers into one of several electrical rooms at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A classroom at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston is filled with construction material Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A classroom at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston is filled with construction material Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

The cafeteria at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston si coming together Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A stage is being built between the cafeteria, right, and the gymnasium at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Lewiston Schools Superintendent Bill Webster stands in one of four mechanical rooms at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Xavier Martinez pulls cables for data, speakers and other communications systems through the first-floor ceiling of the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A classroom comes together at the new Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

A construction worker carries copper pipes down the first-floor hallway near the entrance of the Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston on Tuesday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

What’s inside 

• 100-plus rooms.

• 48 classrooms, plus music rooms, art rooms, science, technology, engineering, math lab, nurses office.

• 76 bathrooms so each classroom has a single bathroom to minimize discipline problems.

• Two floors: grades pre-K to 2 on first; grades 3-6 on second.

• Cafeteria, gymnasium, stage.

• Front lobby with skylight and tiled floor.

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