The Rockland-area school district has a lot of work to do following the approval Tuesday, Feb. 28, of a referendum that allows it to borrow up to $23.2 million for school construction projects.

First on the list is a classroom addition to Oceanside Middle School in Thomaston, according to Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald.

He said the board's finance and facilities committee will meet to go over more details of the architectural plan. A building committee with members from the general public, staff and administration is being formed and will advise the district on the final design for the building.

Two citizens are needed for the panel and McDonald said anyone interested can contact RSU 13 Board Chair Steve Roberts.

The district will likely meet again with the Thomaston Planning Board to go over the plans later in March, the superintendent said.

Bids will be sought for construction and after the bids are reviewed, a contractor will be selected. The superintendent said the district will also seek to hire a construction manager for work at the middle school, as well as at Oceanside High School in Rockland.

The superintendent said he expects ground will be broken at the middle school in the spring and is still confident that the classroom addition will be completed in time for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

The addition will allow sixth-graders, who now spend their mornings at the South School in Rockland, to be a part of the regional middle school for the entire day.

The second phase of the work at the middle school will be to build a new cafeteria and kitchen and then renovate the existing eating area into more classrooms.

At Oceanside High School in Rockland, there will also be a new, expanded cafeteria and kitchen. The administrative offices will be moved to space between the new kitchen and the auditorium. This will create a new main public entrance there.

The existing administrative space will be converted into classrooms.

Additional bathrooms will be added and renovations will be made to the lower level, where locker rooms are located. An elevator will be installed. A sprinkler system will also be installed in the school.

There is no timetable on construction of the new elementary school that will serve pre-kindergarten through fifth-graders largely from Owls Head and South Thomaston. The new two-story school will be located on the grounds of the current Owls Head Central School. The new building will be situated on a grassy area to the north of the existing school.

The superintendent said preliminary work for the new elementary school could begin in 2017. Once the new school is built, the Owls Head Central School will be demolished.

The district by law must offer the Gilford Butler School in South Thomaston to the town.

South Thomaston Board of Selectmen Chair Jan Gaudio said Wednesday the selectmen have only discussed the Gilford Butler School in passing and have not discussed what would be done with it if the district offers the property.

Gaudio said he expects the district will conduct a final inspection of the building and provide the town with details on the school's condition. He said the town would then decide whether to keep it, sell it, or level it. That matter would be decided by voters at a town meeting.

RSU 13 turned over the Lura Libby School to Thomaston last year and has offered the McLain School to Rockland. RSU 13 will move its administrative offices, alternative education program and computer systems to South School during the summer. Room is expected to freed up at South School when the sixth-graders move to the middle school in Thomaston.

The Rockland City Councill will formally accept the letter from RSU 13 this month and will then consider whether to accept the McLain School property.

The school bond referendum was approved 724 to 396. This amounted to nearly 11 percent of registered voters in the communities.

Rockland supported the bond package 276 to 200. Thomaston approved it 114 to 69. Owls Head gave its strong backing, 156 to 52. South Thomaston overwhelmingly favored the borrowing by 116 to 44, while Cushing approved the bond package 62 to 31.

The superintendent said he was particularly pleased that the referendum was approved by every community within RSU 13.