BATH — Regional School Unit 1 and the city have ordered appraisals of two city-owned properties that the school district is eyeing for a new high school.
Both appraisals should be completed by the end of this month, according to school and city staff.
Ken Charest of Portland-based Appraisal Services will do the work for RSU 1. Charles Washington of Washington Valuations will work on behalf of the city.
The city’s study “should match up nicely with the RSU’s appraisal process,” Bath Economic Development Director Scott LaFlamme said Monday.
The value study follows a Jan. 6 straw poll by the City Council, in which the panel unanimously supported having RSU 1 explore constructing the school on one of the properties.
The school district has been in talks with city officials about constructing the school either adjacent to Bath Middle School, or at Wing Farm Park. RSU representatives have said they may be interested in purchasing both parcels – which sit near each other north of Congress Avenue – to provide room for both the school and new athletic fields.
Along with the appraisals, the state Department of Education must weigh in on the construction options. The City Council will also have to formally vote on whether to sell property to the RSU.
RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel told the council last month that the school district searched for properties in all four RSU 1 communities – Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg and Woolwich – and narrowed the options to two.
With the appraisals in hand, the city and RSU would “begin a negotiation process for the acquisition of one or both of those properties,” Manuel said in an interview Monday.
The RSU and city are coordinating efforts to ensure they have the same information appraised, he added, and “so that we’re comparing apples to apples when we’re done this process.”
Once the district decides to pursue one site for school construction, a nonbinding community straw vote – part of a 21-step major capital school construction process – will take place, possibly this spring or summer.
The RSU 1 Board of Directors last October unanimously supported rebuilding Morse High School at a different site than its existing High Street location. That decision followed a study that deemed the existing school unsuitable for renovation or expansion.
Ron Lamarre of Lavallee Brensinger Architects, the New Hampshire-based company hired by Regional School Unit 1 to provide architectural and engineering services for a new high school in Bath, shows one of two options for siting a new high school on city-owned property during the City Council’s Jan. 6 meeting.