RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors on Monday chose Harriman architectural firm in Auburn as the best qualified to design a school for elementary students, and possibly those in middle school grades.

Other firms that sent requests for qualifications were Oak Point Associates of Biddeford, Lewis & Malm Architecture of Bucksport and WBRC Architects/Engineers of Bangor.

Superintendent Deb Alden said Tuesday that the State Department of Education will work with the district to develop a contract with Harriman.

She and board Chairman Jerry Wiley of Buckfield said at Monday’ s meeting that the board’s Building Advisory Committee recommended Harriman because one of its employees graduated from the former Rumford High School another graduated from Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

“The younger lady that is from Rumford, she is an architect for them, but she is also an educational planner for them. I think, for me, that gives them an edge as well,” Wiley said.

According to the RSU 10 website, the district is looking for land in the Rumford and Mexico area for a new school. In the next six months to a year, potential sites will be studied.

The district plan calls for a new school to open in 2023.

The State Department of Education has granted the district permission for a new school, Alden said Tuesday evening, because Rumford Elementary is so old and in poor shape. It ranked No. 3 of the 78 on the state’s construction list, she said.

Alden said the state looks favorably on taking care of more than one building because it’s more efficient. Therefore the district applied to replace Meroby, which was No. 38 on the state list, while the middle school ranked No. 27.

The two elementary schools have about 250 students each and the middle school about 400, she said. Meroby and the middle schools are on the same property and Rumford Elementary is a mile and a half away.

Alden said it’s possible to put all of those students in one building but have lower grades separate from upper grades.

Also, having one new school to replace three old ones saves money because it means one site and one building to operate and maintain, she said.

RSU 10 has six schools, including Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner and Mountain Valley High School, besides the Rumford and Mexico elementary schools and the middle school.

Besides Rumford and Mexico, the district towns include Buckfield, Hartford, Sumner, Hanover and Roxbury.

In other business, Nancy Allen, adult education director for Region 9 School of Applied Technology, reviewed the programs, financing and areas served. The school provides adult basic education, a high school diploma and/or the equivalent, college and career transitions classes, career training and adult enrichment courses.

It’s main funding sources are the state, town taxes and grants.

“This year we will receive $96,957 from the state (and) we will also receive over $25,000 in grant funds,” Allen said. “The rest of the budget is split by the towns we serve, based on usage and population. This year RSU 10 will pay $150,609.”  The towns will pay a combined $228,490 for this school year.

The money from participating towns helps cover salaries and benefits for two full-time adult education teachers, and administrative services, including the director and financial services and maintenance needs, Allen said.

The school offers instruction to RSU 10 students and those from Canton, Carthage, Dixfield in RSU 56, Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock in SAD 44, and Byron, Andover, Gilead and Upton.

In other matters, the board approved using two school buses for a Project Graduation trip to Mt. Cranmore in North Conway, New Hampshire. Senior class officers Audra Bean, Kierstyn Lyons and Saydie Garbarini, and graduation coordinator and teacher Chris Carver made the request.

“There are about 80 students in the graduating class,” Lyons said. Outdoor activities will include a “mountain coaster” and a zip line, and indoor activities that include karaoke and a hypnotist, Bean and Garbarini said.

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Senior class officers at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford address the Regional School Unit 10 directors Monday night, requesting the use of two buses for the Project Graduation celebration at Mt. Cranmore in North Conway, New Hampshire. From left are Audra Bean, Kierstyn Lyons and Saydie Garbarini. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times


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