Jeanne LaPointe, nutrition director for Regional School Unit 10 in Rumford, places stickers next to words and ideas she considers priorities for a new school for prekindergarten to grade 8 students from Rumford and Mexico. The chart was part of a community forum this month at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The vision for a new school for elementary and junior high students from Rumford and Mexico will be a “welcoming and collaborative learning environment,” according to the final design statement.

The statement was shared Wednesday night at a Zoom meeting between Harriman architects of Auburn and the Regional School Unit 10 school building committee. Based on ideas offered at a community forum last week, the statement described the design as a place “where we plant the seeds and nurture the roots for a strong tomorrow.”

Architects Lisa Sawin, Mark Lee and Emilie Waugh led the committee Wednesday in a discussion about the building plans.

The district proposes a school for prekindergarten through grade 8 students at the site of Meroby Elementary and Mountain Valley Middle schools in Mexico. It would house students from Rumford and Mexico elementary schools and the middle school.

Superintendent Deb Alden said last week that the Maine Department of Education will consider the request for approval of the site, “probably in July.”

Sawin said some ideas presented at a workshop last month as guiding principles for the design were:

• Adequate storage space.

• Developmentally appropriate facilities.

• Special education rooms that are not isolated.

• Natural light.

• Spaces for nonathletic extracurricular activities.

• Indoor and outdoor performing arts spaces.

• Adequate meeting space, especially private special education meetings.

Other ideas, including from a community survey, listed the importance of social and emotional learning support, programs and space for science, technology, engineering and math, arts, community access, a small school model and a connection to nature.

The four top priorities for the building are, in order: a secure and welcoming entry; natural light and views of nature; space for hands-on learning; and hubs for students gatherings.

The Harriman team showed videos of interiors and exteriors of new schools in Holbrook, Massachusetts, and Harrisonburg, Virginia.

The school building committee also viewed diagrams of the Paris Elementary School for prekindergarten to grade 6 and a Farmington school for prekindergarten through grade 2 that features a circular courtyard entrance.

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