MEXICO — Region 9 School of Applied Technology is requesting $5.48 million in grant money from federal funding to construct and equip three buildings on school grounds, said the school’s board chairman Norm Clanton of Newry on Friday.

The career and technical education school plans to have a referendum question on the ballot for each of its 16 participating towns on Election Day, Nov. 8, Clanton said. The question will ask whether the residents will accept the grant money requested to construct and equip the three buildings.

He also said that residents should know that if any or all the grant projects are approved, “they will be built entirely with grant money and not a penny of local funds.”

Towns that send students to Region 9 School of Applied Technology are Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Hanover, Bethel, Newry, Woodstock, Greenwood, Dixfield, Canton, Carthage, Peru, Andover, Byron, Gilead and Upton.

The grant application seeks funds for a building for the school’s welding program, another for its culinary arts program, and another for its outdoor skills and leadership program. For the school’s welding program, $3.72 million is requested for a classroom and lab; almost $1.1 million for its culinary arts program for a greenhouse with an outdoor kitchen and market; and $665,000 is requested for an education center for the school’s outdoor skills and leadership program.

Clanton said the CTE school is expecting to find out “pretty soon,” possibly in the next week or two, if they will be awarded the full grant they are seeking or even some part of it.

“But the ability to use (the grant), if we are offered any, is contingent upon the voters saying ok (to use the grant money to build the three buildings).” By holding the referendum vote on Election Day the school will “save a lot of money that way,” he said, and they won’t have to hold another referendum vote.

“And also, because we need to get the (voters) approval, then if (the grant award) is offered, we can (get started on the building plans),” Clanton said.

An informational hearing regarding the referendum question will be held at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.

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