Updated drawings of the new Camden-Rockport Middle School provide a more realistic view of the building from numerous perspectives.

In June 2017, voters approved a $26 million referendum to build the new 83,400-square-foot building. Construction is scheduled to begin June 2018.

New drawings of the building were shared by Oak Point Associates with SAD 28's CRMS Building Committee earlier in December. This committee generally meets once a month. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8 at 6 p.m., and will be held in the Washington Street Conference Room in Camden.

The building is designed to reduce the impact on Knowlton Street, according to Oak Point Senior Architect Tyler Barter. The new middle school will be set back from Knowlton Street approximately 160 feet, according to Building Committee Chairman Will Gartley. There will be a bus loop in front of the building. Next to the bus loop will be parking, and a pickup loop for the many parents who drive their children to school.

The front of the current building, particularly the main entrance, is very close to the street. There is no bus loop. In the mornings and afternoons during the school year, school buses line up on Knowlton Street, followed by a long line of idling vehicles behind the buses driven by parents who pick up their children.

Removing the bus and parent pick-up loops from Knowlton Street "will offer a much better and safer situation," according to SAD 28 Superintendent Maria Libby. "This will address the current traffic jam that is experienced every morning and afternoon during the week."

The existing building is a patchwork of old schools, wings and connectors, Libby wrote in a recent email. "The new building will be designed as a school and will function infinitely better," she wrote. She explained that each space is designed for its use.

Libby listed a sampling of the enhancements the new building will include:

Classrooms will maintain a fairly traditional design, but will have consistent heat and built-in storage. Existing classroom furniture will be used, but flexible workspace options will be considered for the future.

Solar, geothermal and sewer thermal systems are being considered as alterative energy and electricity sources. Materials will be as "green" as possible within the budget, including LED lighting and marmoleum, a replacement for linoleum, made from natural and recycled materials, and containing no phthalates, plasticisers or mineral oil.

The technology room will include a project area and green room so that students will have the ability to work on an array of media projects.

The cafeteria will have full production kitchen, according to Barter. The lunch line system will be improved, Libby wrote, and the situation where the current cafeteria doubles as a hallway between two wings of the building will be eliminated.

The gymnasium will afford direct access to the outdoors, will have athletic equipment storage nearby, and a more appropriately sized concession stand.

A 250-seat theater will replace the current 90-plus-seat theater, allowing the middle school to present its own plays, have class meetings and make the space available to the community.

The band room, now in a former "mini-gym," will have rehearsal space, practice rooms and instrument and music storage areas. The chorus room will be larger to accommodate the size of the program, and will enable risers to be used effectively.

The art room will have ample storage for student work, and a kiln room. "Right now our art room is overflowing with lack of storage space and a kiln that sits in a corner," Libby wrote.

Classrooms and spaces for specialized programming, including a behavioral program, family consumer science, and a social services suite "are being designed based on best practices and flexibility for the future,' according to Libby.

A playground is being designed to include natural features that take into account the slope of the land, as well as features like a small basketball court that reflect students' interests.