Architect selection begins for new Topsham high school

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TOPSHAM — School Administrative District 75 could choose an architect next month for the rebuilding or renovation of Mt. Ararat High School.

The district’s Designer Selection Committee was scheduled to interview four architecture firms Tuesday, Superintendent Brad Smith said in an email Jan. 31. The committee will rank the firms, then conduct reference checks, and eventually visit projects completed by the top candidate.

That firm will return for a second interview, and if negotiations are successful, it will be presented to the School Board next month for consideration.

Selection of the architect completes the design committee’s work; a newly formed Building Committee will take over during the course of the four-to-five-year project.

The architect will study the current high school and consider the needs of the school and its various constituencies, including students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, community members and local officials, Smith said.

SAD 75 has applied for state school construction funding since 1999, and the high school ranked seventh last year on a state construction funding list. The existing two-story, building was built in 1973 with an “open” concept, and has been called a “school with no walls.”

As the project progresses, chances for community involvement and input will be available, Smith said.

“These will likely include visioning meetings, forums, and meetings held on specific topics,” he said. “Subcommittees will provide more opportunity for involvement and will formed as needs arise.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.