Bath-area high school design to be complete next month

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BATH — Regional School Unit 1 aims to have its design for a proposed new Morse High School complete by the middle of next month, Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview July 14.

“By Aug. 15, we’ve got to be all done and ready to go,” for two Maine Board of Education meetings in September and possibly a referendum in November, Manuel said.

The proposed three-story building, which will house both the high school and the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, would be nearly 186,000 square feet.

The current Morse High is nearly 125,000 square feet, and the existing BRCTC is nearly 43,000, bringing the total size to nearly 168,000 square feet.

Many details, such as the types of bricks and metal siding, and the layout of the building interior, are still being worked out. Project information can be found at sites.google.com/a/rsu1.org/morse-building-project.

A 43-acre parcel at the Wing Farm business park will be home to the new school, a location supported first by an April 10 straw poll of residents in the four-community district, and then by unanimous approval of the state board May 10.

If the project is approved, construction could begin next summer, with the school opening in fall 2020. It would replace the 1920s-era building at 826 High St.

The City Council last October approved the district’s option to buy 26 acres of city-owned property at Wing Farm, off Congress Avenue, for $277,500. The council recently extended RSU 1’s option by one year, to July 31, 2018. The city is also gifting the RSU an adjoining 12 acres.

RSU 1 also has options to purchase two adjoining parcels that would create the only entrance to the school. One 1.5-acre property, at 2 Anchor Road, would allow for access from Congress Avenue, and a neighboring parcel of about 1.3 acres would extend Anchor Road to the school.

Wing Farm Parkway would only be used for school access in emergency situations.

A competition-size multi-purpose field, to be used for sports such as soccer and lacrosse, is to be built behind the school, alongside a multi-purpose field to be used for physical education and sports team practices.

“It allows us to have a couple more fields as a community to complement the (nearby) McMann complex,” Manuel said.

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

This image shows how a new Morse High School, designs of which are still in progress, could be situated with two sports fields at the Wing Farm business park in Bath.

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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.