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New Caribou school approaches construction milestone

CARIBOU, Maine — Nearly all of the steel in the Caribou Community School has been installed as of Oct. 2, marking the completion of the second of three major milestones for the $50 million project.

RSU 39 (Caribou and Stockholm) Superintendent Tim Doak said on Oct. 2 that lead contractor Bowman Constructors recently indicated that steel is about 98 percent complete, with only a few more beams to put into place.

While the steel aspect of the project is behind schedule, Doak said other aspects of the project — such as concrete, floors, brickwork and insulation — are “way ahead” of schedule. 

Because of this, Doak said the lead contractor indicated that the project is essentially right on schedule. 

Officials recently celebrated another significant milestone on Aug. 6, when Soderberg Construction, a primary subcontractor, finished excavating the site. Doak also said that concrete work was finished recently.

Once the steel is finished and the building is sealed for the winter, the next significant milestone will be completing all of the interior work, which contractors plan to work on through the winter and well into 2020.

Once the building is wrapped up against the weather, the floors, drywall, ceiling tiles and other interior pieces of the building will be installed. 

Doak said he and other officials involved with the project are in the process of picking out floor and ceiling tiles and determining the colors, shapes and designs.

Caribou Community School is scheduled to open in August 2020, and will result in the closing and subsequent demolition of both Caribou Middle School and Teague Park Elementary School. Plans are in place to hold a ceremonial open house, allowing community members and former students to walk through the facilities one last time before they are demolished. 

A similar event was held for Hilltop Elementary School in 2017 and drew in hundreds of former students. A group of local investors plans to convert this building to a senior housing facility.

Doak said RSU 39 has been contacted by individuals asking about purchasing materials in both Teague Park and Caribou Middle School before the buildings are demolished next year.

Plans are also in place to form a committee that will determine how funds received from the sale of these items could be used. Some options involve offsetting costs for playground equipment or putting it toward an approximately $2 million locally funded addition to the school project. 

“[Construction] is going well,” Doak said, “and we’re hoping mother nature works with us.”

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