CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — The School Department is accepting bids for improvements to the island’s only school, including an addition and a kitchen overhaul.
According to David Brunner, of Seattle-based Brunner Architects, which submitted a schematic of the proposed improvements last May, the goals of the project are to bring the school up to code, adding space so students have more room to learn, extending the building’s life and minimizing future maintenance needs.
Construction companies are invited to a pre-bid meeting at the school at 14 School House Road on April 10. Completed bids and floor plans are due by Friday, April 27, when they’ll be opened and reviewed at Bennett Engineering in Freeport.
Superintendent Michael Pulsifer on March 16 said the hope is to have construction begin at the end of the school year. A schedule and pricing will be set once a construction bid is selected.
The Chebeague Island School was built in 1953. Over the years, the building has had various repairs, including new windows, roofing, and siding.
According to Brunner’s report, the building is generally in acceptable condition. He broke down the suggested improvements into three categories: Code compliance for health and safety, educational needs, and building life cycle and energy performance.
Brunner said construction plans should include kitchen layout upgrades, including new counters, flooring, exhaust hood and plumbing fixtures to meet Health Department requirements.
He also recommended adding an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant entry at the building’s main entrance and roof upgrades.
The school has four classroom-sized spaces that accommodate pre-K, kindergarten through second grade, third grade through fifth grade, and multi-purpose activities, such as arts, music, and lunch.
According to the report, staff frequently emphasize the need for more storage to allow efficient switching of learning materials for the flexible use of the classrooms.
Brunner highlighted a need for an 840-square-foot addition to the building to house two classrooms for specialized education. Specialized education sessions are held in two “undersized” classrooms at the front of the school that also have “inadequate” storage space, he said.
“One room must be accessed through the other,” Brunner wrote. “Which causes additional distractions.”
The report also calls for increased administrative space to be moved to the front of the building to create a reception area between the entrance and a private office/meeting room.
Finally, Brunner identified the need to replace part of the roof and windows. He said the windows are low-quality and “in disrepair,” and the existing roof joists over the classrooms are inadequate for their 23-foot span.
Exploring improvements lends an opportunity to evaluate how to increase energy efficiency and fix mechanical and electrical issues and insufficiencies, he said.
Pulsifer said all the necessary studies and permitting have been completed for the project, and now the only thing left to do before construction is to select a company to carry it out.
The Chebeague Island School Department is accepting construction proposals for school improvements that could begin at the end of this school year.