Middle school options to be presented March 20

By Dwight Collins | Mar 06, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins A public meeting will be held March 20 from 6-8 p.m. to discuss the next steps in the Camden-Rockport Middle School project.

Camden — Architects charged with creating a new vision of Camden-Rockport Middle School expect to present three ideas to the public at a meeting scheduled for March 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria.

The meeting, originally scheduled for March 6, was pushed back by school officials to make sure the Maine School Administrative District 28 School Board have a chance to gather information from the committee working directly with Oak Point Associates, according to SAD 28 Superintendent Elaine Nutter.

“Secondly, it allows us to publicize the meeting so that we can get the community’s full participation,” she said.

Nutter said the focus of the meeting is partially a retrospective of why action needs to be taken with the current building and how the process has gotten to this point. School board members and administration will share information collected about the building and the need to find a long-term fix.

“We want to be able to catch up people that are just getting involved and to reiterate to the public the reasons why we are where we are in the process,” she said.

Oak Point will then introduce three options and give an overview on the pros and cons of each – along with an estimated cost and how the projects can be funded.

Nutter said since the last meeting she had been asked to research other options, such as moving the middle school to Rockport near the elementary and high schools and the possibility of moving fifth-grade students to the elementary school.

“In order to build near the existing campuses, there needs to be a minimum of 20-plus acres of land and there is nothing of that size available in that location,” she said. “As far as moving the fifth-grade to the CRES building, it could cause other issues down the line.”

Nutter said there also seems to be an understanding among school officials and the town of Camden that because the high school was moved to Rockport, the middle school would remain in Camden.

Under the previous superintendent, a feasibility study was completed on moving the fifth-grade back to the elementary school and it stated due to a strong possibility that the state may mandate pre-school programs, there would not be room for both.

“It is not only the kids that would be moving, it would be whole programs that would create space issues in the future at CRES,” Nutter said. “We have to try to anticipate every question someone might ask, so that is why we went back and took another look.”

Other situations slated for discussion are costs of relocating the Zenith alternative education program and administrative offices to the high school should the district reclaim the current building as a bus barn as well as renovation versus new construction of the middle school.

Nutter said there will be a lot of information shared with the public and school board during the meeting. She noted the architects require feedback to help the project move forward and all community members are welcome.

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Dwight Collins
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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