CAMDEN — Exterior work to close up the Rose Hall building, and interior work to build office and classroom space, continue on Knowlton Street.

Mary Beth Van Keuren informed the Camden-Rockport School Board Oct. 20 of the status of the project. She is an architect, engineer and owners representative for the School District building renovation project.

“It’s been under construction for about a year and we’re trying to wrap it up.”

Construction began in October 2020. Van Keuren explained the renovation should have been done around this time, but has taken longer because of “numerous supply chain and labor issues due to Covid.”

The purpose of renovating of the former Mary E. Taylor school is to create administration offices for the school district, and classroom space for the high school’s Zenith alternative education program.

One major change to the building exterior is installation of new windows. About 95% of windows are installed, Van Keuren said. About 80% of the trim kits that go around the windows have been installed and the windows will be caulked. A small number of windows had to be reordered.

Another major change occurred when an elevator on the north side of the building was demolished. This left an opening in the exterior brick wall of Rose Hall, which has not yet been closed up.

Infilling both the north and south ends of the building before winter to make it weather tight was supposed to start the week of Oct. 18, Van Keuren said. On the south side, an exterior canopy will be installed after that is done, over what will be the new main entrance.

School Board Chair Pat McCafferty raised concerns with closing in the building with winter approaching. He wanted to know if everything will be closed in in time and whether there will be any issues with heating the building.

Van Keuren said there will be a temporary plan to heat the building if everything has not been closed in.


Work to close up the north side exterior of Rose Hall, including window installation, remains to be done. The opening is where the old elevator was located. Photo by Susan Mustapich

Paving had not yet been done as of Oct. 28. Van Kueren said the paving contractor had to be rescheduled. The goal is to get this done before the paving plants close, which may happen in mid to late November, she said.

Completed work outside the building includes installation of an underground propane tank, light poles and curbing.

Inside the building, most of the demolition has been completed.

The new elevator has been installed, and new stairs on the north and south ends of the building are finished.

The stairs on the south end are in an open area, with lots of light from the large windows, and will be used to access the administration office space, Van Keuren said. This staircase is larger than stairs on the north end, which will not be used as much.

Construction is underway on the administration reception area, offices, conference room and Zenith classroom space, including a kitchen.

Mechanicals have been installed and preliminary testing has been done to make sure they will be ready to start when needed, according to Van Keuren. Before that happens, a lot of cleaning has to be done, along with duct and ceiling work, she said. The sprinkler system is roughed in, also with a fair amount of work yet to be done.

Much of the delay in the renovation has been due to labor shortages and getting subcontractors on site, according to Van Keuren. She also mentioned a supply chain issue, where door frames will ship at the end of November, but doors will not be in until mid to late Jan.

She updated board members on the project budget. About 75% of the construction budget has been spent, with 97% encumbered. There is a balance of just over $81,000 in the project contingency fund. While more contingency will be spent, no big expenses are anticipated, she said.

In November 2018, Camden and Rockport residents approved borrowing $4.9 million to preserve and repurpose the Mary E. Taylor school.

On Oct. 21, 2020, School Board members accepted the low bid from Ledgewood Construction, totaling $4,130,850, one of eight bids received. Two alternate packages were also accepted, one for new windows costing around $206,000, and another for asphalt paving for sidewalks. Renovation work began the next day.

In January 2021, deterioration found in the brickwork and supports around windows was identified as structural failure. The estimate for repairs deemed necessary for safety, by Oak Point Associates, came in at $395,000. The board approved the use of up to $232,000 from the project’s capital reserve fund, $50,000 from contingency, and the use of $140,950 budgeted for furniture. Furniture costs were moved to the building’s 2021-22 budget.

Also approved at that time was a $17,400 repair to the roof to deal with water pooling in the penthouse area. The 25-year roof was estimated to last another 5 to 10 years.


The south side of Rose Hall has a new look and a new main entrance to the building. A canopy will be constructed over the entrance way. Photo by Susan Mustapich