Work begins on 'magnificent' building for generations of students

By Stephen Betts | Oct 07, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts The formal groundbreaking for the new regional technical school was held Oct. 5.

Rockland — Work has begun on a new $21.5 million regional technical school that will serve generations of students.

The formal groundbreaking ceremonies were held Thursday, Oct. 5 in the rear of the current Mid-Coast School of Technology building at 1 Main St. in Rockland. Heavy equipment has already begun the earth work and the foundation will begin being poured in two weeks.

"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 Thursday's ceremonies.

"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.

Director Beth Fisher also talked about the importance of the project.

"This is your future," Fisher said to the students who were gathered for the ceremony.

The school is expected to be ready for students beginning in September 2019. The existing building will be demolished during the summer of 2019.

White and Fisher praised the local communities for supporting the project in a November 2016 bond referendum. The bond measure was approved in every municipality in the region that stretches from Lincoln County to Islesboro.

Fisher talked about how long it has taken to get to this point, saying that efforts for a new school began long before she arrived 10 years ago.

"There are many people who have long believed in this dream," she said.

The building will be 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. The vocational programs are half-day classes.

The current 57,000-square-foot building was built in 1968 as a marine repair shop and was purchased by the Region 8 Cooperative Board in 1976.

Comments (6)
Posted by: Mid-Coast School of Technology | Oct 12, 2017 12:16

There were many factors that contributed to the board choosing to stay on location. Access to public safety services, the fact that 3-phase power, and other utilities were already in place, and the property was owned and paid for, were just a  few of the important considerations. It would have cost substantially more to purchase and develop a new property. Further there are recently enacted legal prohibitions against building a new school on a main arterial. Department of Transportation forbids new school construction on Route 1, 90 and 17 which significantly limited the choices. All available properties were carefully reviewed through extensive research before a decision was made. Most of the speculation about possible tax revenue if the property were sold, do not take into consideration what the allowed zoning is for the property.

The board made a well thought out decision after thorough consideration of all of the factors, including cost to tax payers, before deciding to continue to use the property they have owned for more than 40 years rather than purchasing a new parcel and having to bring in utilities to an undeveloped property large enough to host the school. Beth Fisher, Director.

Posted by: T A Schwab | Oct 09, 2017 12:32

I agree with Kathryn WRONG location we voted yes to a new tech school but not on prime waterfront real estate.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Oct 08, 2017 15:03

Beautiful building, lots of thought went into it and a fine location as we move ahead with an option that may keep more of our children closer to home. Moving ahead into the future. Kudos!

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Oct 08, 2017 10:24

Just wish another Rockland site could have been found other than this magnificent lot over looking the ocean which could could have brought in a high tax project rather than a non-profit.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Oct 08, 2017 06:56

The architectural drawing is one of the photos with the story.


Posted by: Dale Hayward | Oct 08, 2017 01:23

A picture of the artist drawing would be nice to accompany this article.

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