Region 9 School of Applied Technology Director Brenda Gammon, right, and board members, from left, Roberta Taylor, Chairman Norm Clanton and Bruce Ross attend a public information meeting Tuesday at the school in Mexico. The school has been awarded a $5.48 million grant from the Maine Department of Education, which voters will decide  Tuesday whether to accept. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

MEXICO — Region 9 School of Applied Technology staff and board members hope residents of the 16 towns supporting the vocational education center will vote Tuesday to accept a $5.48 million grant from the Maine Department of Education.

The funds would pay for construction projects for the welding, culinary arts and outdoor skills and leadership programs.

At a public information meeting Tuesday at the school, the only attendees were school Director Brenda Gammon, board Chairman Norm Clanton and member Roberta Taylor, both representing Maine School Administrative District 44 in Bethel, and member Bruce Ross representing Regional School Unit 56 in Dixfield attended.

Region 9 is one of 27 career and technical education schools in Maine and one of the four to receive grants from the MDOE’s state fiscal recovery funds, Gammon said. The others are Region 11 Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris, Biddeford Regional Center for Technology, and Region 3 Northern Penobscot Tech in Lincoln.

She said she learned last week that Region 9 received the full $5.8 million it applied for in September.

Speaking about establishing a four-season outdoor education center with water access, Gammon said, “So, we’re really looking for a piece of land, a camp on water, something with access so that we can enhance the credential and training for the students (in the outdoor skills and leadership program) as well as other programs.”


A second project to be considered is a classroom and lab space for the welding program. There are 19 students in the metal trades program, which is three times the number since last year, Gammon said. “We’re looking for a new, larger space that would be outfitted with up-to-date equipment that would support them . . . to develop their skills in this area,” she said.

A third project would enhance the culinary arts program by adding a greenhouse and an outdoor kitchen that includes open-flame cooking areas, a smoker, grills and food preparation areas.

The projects would be funded entirely by the grant, Gammon said.

“So that’s the biggest thing, there will be no increase in your taxes due to this project,” Ross said.

Towns that send students to the tech school are Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Hanover, Bethel, Newry, Woodstock, Greenwood, Dixfield, Canton, Carthage, Peru, Andover, Byron, Gilead and Upton.

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