Bath vote on high school land sale has to wait

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BATH — A City Council decision on an option to sell land for a new high school to Regional School Unit 1 probably won’t come before Oct. 5.

The council on Sept. 7 reviewed a draft option agreement to sell 26 acres at the Wing Farm business park. It afterwards went into executive session to discuss a purchase price, which will largely be based on appraisals arranged by the city and the RSU.

Councilors took no action after the closed-door discussion, but urged the public to provide feedback on the matter.

Although the council could have convened a special meeting Wednesday, Sept. 21, to vote on the option, the appraisals have yet to be completed, City Manager Bill Giroux said Monday.

The option is “not a binding agreement that we have to purchase the property; it just allows us to hopefully have the city hold the property for us,” RSU 1 Superintendent of Schools Patrick Manuel said last month. He also said the accord allows RSU 1 to apply to the state Board of Education for site approval for the construction project while the district does further research.

The RSU 1 board last October unanimously supported rebuilding Morse High School at a different site than where it is now. The decision followed a study that determined the nearly 90-year-old school to be unsuitable for renovation or expansion.

The school would be built near the district’s central office at 34 Wing Farm Parkway. RSU 1’s option to purchase the land would expire July 31, 2017.

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.