BRUNSWICK — The Jordan Avenue property where the Kate Furbish Elementary School is being built is in transition.
On one side of the lot, debris from the recently demolished Jordan Acres Elementary School was nearly done being removed Dec. 20. On the other side, the foundation of one wing of the Furbish school was complete and rudimentary structures had started to rise.
The 70,900-square-foot building will house 660 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Along with replacing Jordan Acres, closed in 2011 after nearly 40 years, the Furbish school will also replace the aging, filled-to-capacity Coffin Elementary School.
Voters in 2017 approved borrowing up to $28 million for Furbish, a school named for 19th-century botanist Catherine “Kate” Furbish, who is known for her accurate sketches of flora and fauna.
The Brunswick School Board in August awarded Ledgewood Construction the contract to build the school. The figure came in at just under $20.3 million, roughly $2 million less than estimates architects gave last year.
The town will only issue borrowing for what is needed, Finance Director Julia Henze said in an email Dec. 21.
“The plan is to issue only once, as this is more cost-effective than multiple issues,” she noted. “At this point we are working to determine the appropriate timing and size of the bond issue, and still anticipating that payment of principal will begin when the school is complete and open.”
The project is still on target for fall 2020 completion, and conditions this winter will dictate the flow the next few months, said Scott Smith, director of facilities for the Brunswick School Department, on Dec. 20 during an interview at the site.
“They keep working as much as they can,” he noted.
A stair tower rose above the foundation of one of the building’s wings, and staging was up for a second stair tower and elevator shaft. The school will have a center section with a cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium and offices. Two wings, each two stories, will protrude off each side.
Once the Jordan Acres foundation is completely cleared within the next few months, foundation work for the other wing will begin in that area, Smith explained. Steel structuring is to start going up in January.
The Furbish school will have four pre-K classrooms. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, which opened in 2011, houses most of the grades displaced when Jordan Acres closed that year, while some second-graders went to the Coffin school, Smith said. Once Furbish is complete, the Stowe school will house grades 3-5, as originally intended.
Scott Smith, director of facilities for the Brunswick School Department, in front of the future Kate Furbish Elementary School Dec. 20. The stair tower and foundation of one wing are at right, and staging for a second stair tower and elevator shaft is at left.