Technical school to add amphitheater, solar panels, fence

By Stephen Betts | Jun 26, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts An amphitheater is planned for the rear of the new technical and career center.

Rockland — The Midcoast School of Technology plans to build an amphitheater at its new complex that will open later this summer.

In addition, the technical and career school wants to place solar panels on its roof, and a fence around the property.

Both proposals will go before the Rockland Planning Board Tuesday, July 9.

The cost of the two projects combined is $675,000, with the panels costing about $500,000.

School Executive Director Elizabeth Fisher said the original plan for the new school called for an amphitheater and solar panels, but they were cut to make sure the project stayed within budget. She said the project has stayed well within its budget because of oversight.

In addition, Efficiency Maine is providing significant rebates to the school because it is so energy-efficient. The school will use geo-thermal heat in the building. Fisher said geo-thermal increases the amount of electricity used because of the pumps operating. The solar panels will reduce the amount of electricity used.

The amphitheater will be carved out of the slope in back of the new building. It will have outdoor seating, but will not be enclosed or covered.

The site offers a view of the Owls Head side of Rockland Harbor. There will be seating for events for students, or the space can be used by the community, Fisher said.

While the school construction has been completed, the amphitheater may not be done until later in the fall. The solar panels are planned to be installed over the summer.

The fence will be a 6-foot high, vinyl chain-link fence that will be on the north, east and south sides of the property.

Residents from Waldoboro to Islesboro overwhelmingly approved a $25 million bond referendum in November 2016 for the new school. Ground was broken for the project in October 2017.

The building is two stories with a total of 90,000 square feet.

Sheridan Construction Corp. was the low bidder, at $20,811,000, to be general contractor.

Nearly 350 students attend classes at the vocational school, half during morning classes and half in the afternoon.

"This building we are putting up now is of a magnificent design for students today and in the future," Region 8 Cooperative Board Chair Jerry White of North Haven said at the November 2017 groundbreaking.

"This is an important time in the Midcoast area. This building will be state-of-the-art and will serve students in both high school and college," White said.

The former school building is being demolished. JBI began demolition of the 57,000-square-foot building June 21. The demolition should be completed in two weeks. The old building was built in 1968 as a marine repair shop and was purchased by the Region 8 Cooperative Board in 1976.

Comments (4)
Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Jul 03, 2019 00:05

This all sounds wonderful however, the school has some unfinished business. Which is neighbors of the school having to live with the constant noise from the building.. I’m not speaking about the Construction process which has been totally upsetting for many here but the early evening and into the night motor sounds that even with our doors closed is heard ....No more piece and quite for the nearby homes and condo owners....And we are worried about darkened neighborhoods ...Boy we would swap in a nano second.....looking at this monster is one thing , hearing it all hours is not right ..something has to be done.


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jun 26, 2019 11:26


"School Executive Director Elizabeth Fisher said the original plan for the new school called for an amphitheater and solar panels but they were cut to make sure the project stayed within budget. She said the project has stayed well within its budget due to oversight."

The amphitheater and solar panels WERE INCLUDED in the budget.


Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jun 26, 2019 11:12

There is no auditorium, but an amphitheater which will consist of outdoor seating carved into the slope. The amphitheater will not be enclosed nor covered. The solar panels are projected to save money over time.

Posted by: Jeff Sukeforth | Jun 26, 2019 08:41

Ok this article is confusing to me, first the new school was approved and is being paid for by the towns, all fine and good the votes were there for it. BUT, now they are adding an auditorium, solar and fencing?  So these items were not in the initial build design? That's what it sounds like to me the way this is written. If in fact this is the case how about not doing it and putting the extra money this is going to cost toward paying off the building or even better reimburse it to the towns who are shouldering the cost. I know living in Camden we had the new elementary school ram rodded through and we will be paying for that for years to come so the money coming back to us could be put toward that bill.  Just saying the way this is written makes it sound like we were fleeced again.


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