Auburn residents post stickers on boards Nov. 16 to indicate their preferences for what should be included in a new Edward Little High School. The “extra” amenities would be funded by local taxpayers. On Tuesday, the Auburn Building Committee is scheduled to discuss the results of an online survey asking residents what they want in the new school. (Sun Journal file photo)

AUBURN — A pattern is starting to appear when it comes to what taxpayers want to see at the new Edward Little High School.

A rough estimate of where a new high school and athletic fields would be located in Auburn. (Sun Journal file photo)

Responses to an online survey show residents favor a state-of-the-art athletic stadium with a turf field; a top-notch, 1,200-seat auditorium; and air conditioning, according to Superintendent Katy Grondin, who said 311 people had responded to the survey as of Thursday.

Those are the same responses given during a Nov. 15 community forum, when the public was asked to weigh in on what should be included at the new ELHS.

Since that meeting, the school department has issued an online survey to get more input. The survey shows a list of 19 possible extras, which would be funded by local taxpayers.

While there is broad support for the stadium, large auditorium and climate control, a $6 million pool and $70,000 community stairs are not trending high, Grondin said.

The state has approved state funding for a new Edward Little High School, which is expected to go to local referendum in June. If approved, it would open in 2023.

While the state will pay for the school, there are amenities the state considers extras for which it will not pay. Thus, the Auburn School Department is asking the public to weigh in.

The community has until Monday to respond to the online survey, the results of which will be discussed by the Building Committee when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Auburn Hall.

Estimates on how much the top three choices would cost are:

• Stadium: Between $1.8 million and $2.3 million. The stadium package would include a turf field; an eight-lane track, instead of six lanes; bleachers; a press box; and parking for 400 automobiles. It would not include a concession stand, a second turf field or extra parking.

• Auditorium: Between $4.8 million to $8.7 million for a 1,200-seat facility. Based on an enrollment of 1,180 at Edward Little, the state will pay for a 400-seat auditorium, which would not be large enough to seat all students at once or host top-grade performances. The cost projections do not include certain features, including a larger stage, an orchestra pit or a lighting and sound system.

• Air conditioning: Between $1.2 million to $1.5 million to cool the entire school.

While they did not make the top tier, a geothermal system for climate control has received a good amount of support, as has a larger stage for the auditorium, according to Grondin.

Cost projections for geothermal are between $1.5 million to $1.95 million, while a larger stage would between $730,000 and $910,000.

The list of 19 proposed extras totals more than $35 million, which voters would not likely accept. When asked what kind of dollar limit would be placed on any ballot that goes to voters, Grondin said that is not known yet.

“Where is that dollar amount? We haven’t reached that yet,” Grondin said, adding spending on the new ELHS will be discussed by the School Committee and City Council.

Grondin said there will be discussions “on how we will pay for it — bonds, fundraising or a combination.”

In 2016, Lewiston voters passed two ballot questions on the new elementary school now under construction, approving both. One was to approve a $49.7 million school, paid by the state. The second vote approved $2.1 million, paid by Lewiston taxpayers, for a larger gym, second turf field and air conditioning.

“Lewiston built an elementary school,” Grondin said. “This is a high school, where programming is more complex. It’s hard to compare.”

School officials and others have said they want the new Edward Little to last for 50 to 60 years, and to be a source of economic development and pride for the community.

They hope it will include facilities that will be used by members of the community.

“We want it to be the best in New England,” Grondin said during the Nov. 15 community meeting.

To read the list of proposed amenities for the new Edward Little High School, see www.surveymonkey.com/r/M7SS8NK.

What’s next?

Dec. 4: The Building Committee will review survey results and begin work on what should be included in the new school, 6 p.m., Auburn Hall.

Jan. 23: Community forum at which the new Edward Little High School’s design and cost will be revealed.

June 11: Referendum when Auburn voters will decide on the new high school.

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