Southern Aroostook Community School receives state grant for new lift

DYER BROOK, Maine — Southern Aroostook Community School will be able to replace a 20-year-old lift at its school this summer thanks to a state loan.


RSU 50 Superintendent Jon Porter said the district qualified for a $35,593 Maine Department of Education loan through the department’s School Renovation Fund. The state’s share of the project will be $22,164 (62.27 percent), while the district must pay $13,429 (37.73 percent).

A portion of each loan is considered a grant and is forgiven, while the remaining balance of the loan is paid back at a zero percent interest rate.

“The Maine Department of Education is awarding $25.2 million in School Revolving Renovation Fund loans to 28 schools,” Porter said. “The loans will be used to complete 105 health, safety and compliance projects at 62 schools, including structural roof repairs, indoor air quality improvements, ADA upgrades, hazardous material removal, life safety renovations and security enhancements.”

RSU 50 was awarded a  loan for replacing a lift in the Elementary School that is more than 20 years old. According to Porter, only 10 districts received a higher rating on their project requests.

The lift, which is located in the elementary portion of the school, will be identical to the lift near the school’s gymnasium. 

The new elementary school lift at Southern Aroostook Community School will be identical to this lift, which is located near the school’s gymnasium. (Courtesy of Jon Porter)

The Maine Department of Education’s School Revolving Renovation Fund provides funding assistance to school administrative units to ensure that students have a safe, healthy and appropriate learning environment. The fund offers funding where school administrative units have identified needs in the areas of health and safety, building systems, energy and water conservation and learning space upgrades.

The fund provides loans to administrative units to finance project expenditures. A portion of each loan is considered a grant and is forgiven. The forgiveness rate ranges from 30 percent to 70 percent and is based on the percentage of state subsidy paid to the local unit. 

The remaining balance of the loan is paid back over either five or 10 years at a 0 percent interest rate. The loan repayments revolve back into the fund and are then used to fund other approved projects. The maximum loan that can be provided is capped at $1 million per priority, per school building within any five-year period. 

“RSU 50’s portion to pay for the project will be low enough so we will not need to take out a loan,” Porter said.

The lift will be installed in June once school is dismissed for the year.

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