Community reaches milestone with completion of new middle school

Sep 03, 2020

A new Camden-Rockport Middle School building now sits at the end of a long road, which has been paved with the perseverance, persistence and unwavering support of individuals within the school administration and community.

It also sits at the end of a decade of planning and budgeting for a new school, and sending multiple proposals to a public vote. And we hope it is the end of patching an old structure made up of multiple additions, to prevent leaking water from entering the building.

The interior of the new building is modern and airy and lit by natural light from large windows.

The classrooms and specialty spaces, including the gym and new theater, are a brick and mortar testament to the educational values of the district. This is a building that will support with equal standing, academics for students who may be bound for college or technical careers, sports, athletics and outdoor recreation, and the visual, music and theater arts.

It is built to current safety standards and to a scale made for the age of the students inside. Energy efficiencies in lighting, heating and ventilation and materials are supported by a thermal exchange system that draws from the operations of the wastewater plant on the other side of the Megunticook River.

Building a school back off of the street with bus and drop-off loops is nothing new. But doing this on a downtown property within a built-up residential area, and on the same site as the existing building, was more challenging and costly than it would have been in a field located somewhere else.

The location is also a strong sign of support for the community value of keeping at least one of the district's three schools in downtown. It is more than nostalgia to hope that some children can walk and bicycle to school or head downtown after school with friends for a snack, ice cream or candy. This is the experience families want for their middle school-aged children, as they begin to grow up and venture out with their peers into the world beyond their own yards and streets.

The new school is at the end of one road, and the beginning of another. Its stories have yet to be told, of the education, fun and challenging teen experiences that will go on there.

Congratulations are due to so many that no one will be named here: the school district leaders; officials and board members who came up with planning, financing and a construction schedule that worked; volunteers on the town's Planning Board and a succession of middle-school building committees; Select Board members who scrutinized finances and asked good questions; innovators who inspired and made possible energy efficiencies; the architects, construction company and all its employees, and contractors; volunteers who raised funds; teachers, staff and parents who held steady while school schedules morphed to accommodate demolition and construction phases; neighbors who have had more than their share of noise, dust and inconvenience; and last but not least, community members and taxpayers who believed in and voted for a new school.

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