By Superintendent Carl Gartley
Last fall our communities came together to pass a $13.9 million dollar facilities improvement bond. The passage of this bond came after more than a year of work by our community led facilities committee. This committee looked at several options ranging from new construction to keeping the status quo. In the end, the facilities committee, our school board, and our administration decided to invest in repairing our existing facilities. Less than six months after this bond was approved by voters, we are moving ahead with district facilities improvements.
The facility work has been divided into three paths. The first is extensive energy performance improvements. RSU 18 has contracted with the company Honeywell to lead this work in all of our buildings. Some of the projects include interior and exterior lighting upgrades, window replacements, boiler and ventilation unit replacements, roof repairs and masonry upgrades. This work will not only take care of necessary repairs, but will improve the environment in our schools for staff and students.
The second path is the upgrade of the athletic complex at Messalonskee High School. This project consists of converting the existing facility into an eight-lane rubberized community track, converting the field to a synthetic turf surface, and adding a new LED lighting system and a new scoreboard. The project also includes expansion of the bleachers, which would allow us to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is so exciting to know that with these renovations our football team, lacrosse teams, soccer teams and field hockey teams will all have a new facility that they can be proud of. The work is anticipated to begin in late June and continue into the fall. The Messalonskee High School campus will be closed this summer due to the construction.
The final path consists of a variety of capital improvements, including repairs that were identified in the report presented to the district by the State Fire Marshal’s office. These projects include installing fire rated sheetrock and doors where recommended, a redesign of the front parking lot at the Belgrade Central School, installing a sprinkler system in the gymnasium at the high school, expanding the gym and adding locker rooms at China Middle School and updating science classrooms at Messalonskee High School. Some of these capital projects are expected to begin this summer and the full scope of the work is anticipated to take two to three years to complete.
In the end, our schools will be safer, the air quality and learning environment will be greatly improved, and I welcome everyone to come out next year to see our new playing fields at MHS. Many of these projects have been discussed for years in our district. Our towns, our teachers, our administrators, our parents, our students, our board, our boosters …. so many people have come together to make this happen. All I can say is thank you.
To follow our progress, go to https://rsu18.org/rsu-18-facilities-bond-information/.