An image shows what the proposed addition to Lewiston High School might look like. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal; Joel Matuszczak graphic Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — After more than 45 years, Lewiston High School is finally getting its arts wing.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the city referendum to build a $13.4 million classroom wing near the main entrance by a vote of 4,063 to 1,741 on Tuesday.

“We are real proud to see the voters of Lewiston support the future,” Superintendent Todd Finn said.

Finn, who arrived on the job after school officials had done much of the heavy lifting to get the expansion on the ballot, praised School Committee members Francis Gagnon and Luke Jenson, along with Assistant Principal Jay Dufour for leading the campaign to support the expansion.

The two-story expansion will bring all of the arts classes out of the basement — “the dungeon” as the students call it —  and put them on the first floor of the new wing. Classes such as ceramics, chorus, music, photography, piano, painting and dance will be taught in a more visible location with display space to showcase their work.

The special education classes will also leave the basement. The dozen or more teachers without their own classroom, who now use a pushcart to move from room to room, will have their own classroom in the new wing.


The wing also includes a more secure main entrance and a much-needed Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant elevator.

Signifying the first step of the plan, more than 50 parking spaces were added to the school grounds last year.

An arts center, including an auditorium, was planned when the school was first proposed in the 1970s, but was cut to save costs. Lewiston has struggled to find classroom space for the arts ever since.

Supporters said the new wing could extend the life of the high school, which opened in the fall of 1973, for another 50 years.

The project will be funded by taxpayers. Bonded over 20 years, the $13.4 million expansion will cost the average Lewiston taxpayer with a $150,000 home a net tax increase of $72 per year, according to the expansion committee.

There was no known organized opposition against the project.


Voters interviewed in Ward 2 at Montello Elementary School spoke in support for the expansion.

“I just feel space is an issue, handicap accessibility is an issue,” said Nancy Grenier. “And I just think they need to keep up with the times because we want the best high school. It’s time.”

“I think it is due for an improvement and expand some of the different academic and vocational classes,” Timothy Pomerleau said. “Anything to improve the school.”

“I think they need it. And I went there,” Nancy Bergeron added.

One mother, who declined to give her name, said, “I voted yes. My son is going there pretty soon and I want it to be a good school.”

Construction is expected to start next spring with a tentative completion in late 2021.

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