PARIS — Oxford Hills School District directors voted unanimously Monday night to borrow $38,700 for an access ramp and an amount to be determined for a fire suppression system for a new modular classroom building at the overcrowded Otisfield Elementary School.

Access to the building is the latest issue delaying its opening, which was expected last fall. Site excavation and installing a concrete pad were not completed as planned, and now the project is facing cost overruns. Also, Maine School Administrative District 17 officials have been unable to install a fire suppression system as required by fire code.

Principal Jessika Sheldrick said the building will immediately improve the quality of education for two classes that have no permanent space.

Thirty-two students do not have adequate classrooms. One class is in a room described as a storage space. The school library has been temporarily relocated in the school gym.

Operations Committee Chairman Lew Williams said having more space will benefit the entire school.

When a bid for more than $50,000 was received for an access ramp, directors got sticker shock and researched alternatives. Some favored having a wooden ramp built, while others thought a commercial grade, aluminum system was the best solution.


101 Mobility then provided a bid for $38,700 and Level Ramping of New Hampshire submitted an estimate of about $32,000.

The district’s Operations Committee determined 101 Mobility’s bid was the most reasonable because its system can be reused at other buildings and has the lowest maintenance requirements.

Director Robert Jewell of Paris opposed the bid, saying the project is so over budget that the responsible thing would be to go with the lower-priced estimate, which did not include as many use options as 101 Mobile’s.

During discussion of the ramp and fire suppression systems Monday, Finance Committee Chairperson Kitty Winship of Waterford told directors the committee proposed bundling the two systems into a three-year lease loan that would stretch out the extra costs instead of taking a large hit this fiscal year.

The board voted unanimously to accept a $38,700 bid from 101 Mobility of Maine for an an American with Disabilities Act-compliant access ramp and two sets of entry steps, and finance it and the fire suppression system.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Paul Bickford reports Monday on the high school’s dual enrollment class program during a meeting of the Oxford Hills School District board of directors in Paris. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

In another matter, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Paul Bickford announced the school has established a Sports Hall of Fame. Its inaugural inductees included Athletic Directors Don Gouin and Keith Lancaster, Nordic skier Leslie Bancroft, golfer Dan Ladd and football player Jeremy Tardiff, among others.


Bickford also updated the board on the high school’s dual enrollment program that allows students to take classes to earn high school and college credits at the University of Maine at Augusta.

In 2018, four regular and 12 advanced placement classes were offered, with 56 students and 190 students enrolled, respectively. This year, each course track offered 12 classes with 318 enrolled in regular dual classes and 207 advanced placement enrollees.

Bickford said other programs are in development, including an education track in partnership with University of Maine at Farmington and an outdoor leadership track through the University of Maine.

In other business, the board:

• Authorized the Transportation Department to sell eight old buses and vans.

• Approved the academic calendar for the 2023-24 school year.

• Approved the first reading of a student expulsion policy.

• Approved the second reading of a weapons, violence and school safety police.

The meeting opened with recognition of MSAD 17’s most recent state championship teams: girls varsity basketball and cheering.

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