Middle school construction plan chosen by board
Camden — Maine School Administrative District 28 School Board took another step toward construction of a new middle school on the current campus after a public hearing May 20 that presented two different ideas on placement and orientation of the new building.
The first plan called for construction to take place near the south end of the property, next to the current bus barn and behind the Mary E. Taylor section of the building. The second places the building at the northern edge, closer to the intersection of Knowlton and Washington streets.
According to Superintendent Elaine Nutter, after considering both possibilities, the final vote by the board was unanimous to endorse the northern location concept with the provision of re-purposing the Mary E. Taylor building, most likely to central office, adult education and alternative education spaces.
Nutter added those spaces will be rented from SAD 28 by the Five Town Community School District and will be included as part of the total project. A public presentation of the approved design concept is scheduled to occur June 18 during the SAD 28 School Board meeting in the Camden-Rockport Middle School cafeteria, immediately following recognition of staff and students.
The new construction plans call for an 82,000-square-foot structure to be built on the existing school grounds. Construction would take place in phases and would cause minimal interrupt to the educational process as students will remain in existing classrooms during construction.
Oak Point Associates, the firm tasked with creating options for the middle school, estimated the new school will cost $23 million. Funding for the new school must be approved by voters before construction can begin.
After a straw vote by those in attendance, the School Board voted 7-0 to support the plan for a northern placement of the building near the intersection of Knowlton and Washington streets.
During a public hearing March 20, the School Board voted in favor of supporting a plan for new construction of a middle school on the same property, leading to development of the plans presented May 20. If the plan and funding are approved by voters, all but the Mary E. Taylor portion of the existing middle school will be demolished after the new portion is complete.
The original Camden Grade School was constructed in 1925 and shortly thereafter was renamed Mary E. Taylor School.
In 1950, a 1,600-square-foot space was erected to house the school’s gymnasium, lockers and boiler rooms. The next addition was completed in 1955, which contained several classrooms and science labs.
The two buildings were connected in 1962 with the addition of another educational wing between the cafeteria and the gymnasium. This section of the building is known as the Andrews wing. Two more additions were built in the ‘60s, including the industrial arts wing, and in 1980 the mini-gym and additional classrooms were added.
In 2000, four other major projects were completed. Those projects included a second 2,400-square-foot connector between the Andrews wing and the gymnasium. An elevator was installed in this connector and old locker rooms were converted into storage space. New locker rooms were built on the gymnasium level where a stage used to be.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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