A list of proposed value-engineering options for the new Camden-Rockport Middle School has been unanimously voted on by members of the SAD 28 School Board; the list outlines dozens of cost cuts which will potentially reduce $1.8 million from the construction budget.

The low bid for the construction of the school on Knowlton Street, not including furnishings and other soft costs, was $28.1 million. Submitted by Ledgewood Construction, the bid is approximately $5.8 million over the anticipated cost of the project; the maximum the district had expected to spend was $22.3 million.

Since receiving the news that construction would be significantly higher in cost, the district has been working with architects and Ledgewood to "value engineer" or cut costs, in order to get the school built. The goal is to have the school ready for operations in the fall of 2020.

The $1.8 million in cuts that the district approved include changes to the building's exterior glass which would have cost $160,000 and combining phases of the existing facility's demolition to reduce the budget by $177,000. Eliminating a wooden structure in the cafeteria and replacing it with steel framing would also save $125,000.

The plans also call for the deletion of work to the softball and hockey field which would have totaled $117,000, and mechanically attaching all layers of insulation and cover board in lieu of adhering them, thereby saving $51,000. Smaller changes involve the removal of proposed benches, bike stands and a flagpole.

"Between this $1.8 million in cuts, using $2.88 million in bond premium, $450,000 in interest income, $1.1 million in principal payment, $60,500 from the gym floor, an additional $400,000 from the Capital Reserve, and funding the Sewer Thermal, we have almost $135,000 remaining that we plan to put into the building contingency," said Superintendent Maria Libby on June 25.

Libby said that some of the funds from the building contingency will be used to install playground equipment including a stainless steel slide; the value-engineering list reduced playground equipment and installation fees by $159,000. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project is expected to take place in September.

Earlier this month, residents of Camden and Rockport voted to appropriate funds to the project from three different sources: $400,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund balances; transfer an additional $1.48 million to the Capital Reserve; and authorize the School Board to use bond premiums in the amount of up to $3 million.

The current Camden-Rockport Middle School facility on Knowlton Street is a combination of buildings which include the Mary E. Taylor building, which was built in the 1920s. Other portions of the facility were built in the 1950s and '60, and once served as the Camden- Rockport High School.