Bruce Ross of Dixfield, left, a director of the Region 9 School of Applied Technology, speaks Wednesday at the board meeting at the Mexico school. Directors approved a $2.3 million bid from Benchmark Construction of Westbrook for a welding building at the school. Others, from left, are Directors Karen Thurston of Andover, Judy Boucher of Byron and Vice Chairman Wayne Thurston of Peru, Region 9 School Superintendent Director Brenda Gammon, and Directors Brian Keene of Canton, Peter DeFillipp of Mexico and Greg Buccina of Rumford. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

MEXICO — Region 9 School of Applied Technology directors approved a $2.3 million bid Wednesday from Benchmark Construction of Westbrook for a welding building.

It was the lowest of six bids opened at the school Tuesday, Region 9 Superintendent Brenda Gammon said.

The deadline for completing construction is December, a requirement of the grant that will pay for it, she said.

A $5.48 million state grant for the welding building project, an outdoor culinary arts center and money to purchase property for an outdoor skills and leadership program was approved by voters in November 2022.

In other business, directors approved a proposed high school budget of $2.5 million for the 2024-25 fiscal year. It is $28,226 more than this year, Gammon said, in part because Region 9 received $9,792 less in state subsidy for next year.

Directors also approved a proposed adult education budget of $428,136 for next year, $1,745 less than this year, Adult and Community Education Director Dave Murphy said.


“Of that $428,136, we’re applying $50,000 in adult education carryover (funds), and we also have an increase in (state) subsidy of $13,411,” he said.

Back-to-back public hearings on the 2024-25 budgets will be held March 20 at 6 p.m. at a site to be determined, and at 7:30 p.m. at the Region 9 school. A budget meeting and vote will be held at 6 p.m. May 1 at the school.

The career and technical education center also offers courses in culinary arts, certified nursing assistant, computer technology, automotive technology, truck driver training, building construction, fire science, forest/wood harvesting and outdoor skills and leadership, according to its website.

Residents of 16 communities, including Andover, Bethel, Byron, Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Gilead, Greenwood, Hanover, Mexico, Newry, Peru, Roxbury, Rumford, Upton, and Woodstock are served by the school’s programming and services.

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