SAD 32 approves new school site

17 years ago

    ASHLAND, Maine – SAD 32 directors scored a goal May 29 as they formally approved the boys’ soccer field as the location of the new pre-kindergarten to grade 12 school.
    “In approving the site, the board voted to take options to purchase two lots adjacent to the school property on Walker Street to expand the area beyond what the school department owns now,” said Superintendent Gehrig Johnson. “A home is on one of the lots, and the second one is a wooded area.
“There is the possibility of a third property,” he said, noting that the three lots would give SAD 32 an additional three acres. “Right now, the district owns 15 acres of land. The additional acreage will give the architects a lot more land to plan the building. It increases the options in terms of the playgrounds, parking lots and the entry/exit areas.”
Johnson said the new school is still in the “conceptual stage,” and it will be later this summer before architects have formal design plans created.
Though the SAD 32 board approved the location last week, the location must now be OK’d by the State Board of Education June 13.
“They have to approve the site since they’re paying 95 percent-plus of this building,” said Johnson, indicating that the community took a straw vote last night to approve the site, as well. “Everything is in order, and we anticipate the state will approve the site.”
Following state approval, the district will work to develop educational specifications for the new school.
“We have a committee that’s working on that,” Johnson said. “They’ll come up with a vision for what is needed in this new school. It’s not an automatic assumption that exactly what you have is what you’re going to have. We have to revisit what the communities want and what’s important to them for subject matter and the building itself.
“They’ll discuss it and come up with this vision, and then write a plan for what the vision will be,” he said, “and that has to be submitted and approved by the Bureau of Construction in Augusta. That step is ongoing, but we’re hoping by the end of June to get our ‘ed specs’ approved.”
The superintendent said architects will be working through July and August “putting the building together on paper,” and the community will vote this fall on the design.
The new pre-K to 12 building is estimated to cost more than $12 million.
Also at the May 29 board meeting, directors unanimously approved Chris Hallett as the new assistant principal/activities coordinator.
“It’s a relatively new position that was created in January, and we had someone serving as interim,” said Johnson. “The activities coordinator is more like an athletic director, but he’ll be responsible for clubs and sports activities.
“Chris has an extensive background in coaching,” he said, “and has coached both girls and boys varsity sports at Washburn, Messalonskee, and Cony High School. He’s highly qualified and is highly energetic. He is a young man with great potential.”
Hallett, who most recently was the guidance director for SAD 45, will assume duties July 1.