Cumberland arts center on track for late-2018 completion

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CUMBERLAND — With exterior work nearly finished, the Greely Center for the Arts is well on its way to completion in November or December.

The building’s brickwork was completed two weeks ago, and the large windows for the front of the center were about to be installed, School Administrative District 51 Superintendent Jeff Porter said in an interview June 28.

With that accomplished, the remaining exterior work will include aesthetic elements like shrubbery, reconfiguration of the site’s stormwater retention pond, completion of the access road to the back of the building, and creation of a plaza in front of the building.

The 26,000-square-foot building, designed by Stephen Blatt Architects to seat 500, is being built at the rear of the school at 303 Main St., in an area between the school and its outdoor track. Detailed information on the project is posted at msad51.org.

Inside the building, the first floor was poured with concrete fill about three weeks ago. That includes the risers, which will eventually hold the center’s seats, Porter explained.

“That’s a critical step before they can do a lot of other work,” he said.

Metal braces for the walls have all been installed, “so all the rooms in the performing arts center are being completed right now, in terms of drywall and all the metal supports,” Porter added. “The whole interior of the building is all laid out.”

The stairs to the second floor are finished, and the first- and second-floor walls into the high school were broken through after school recessed in June, to connect the two facilities.

Ventilation systems have been installed, and the roof is nearly complete.

“It’s coming along pretty well,” Porter said. “It’s starting to move pretty quickly.”

About 75 people in several trades are working on the project, he said.

“A lot of interior work is going to really start flying, now that most of the exterior work is done,” Porter said. “Between now and the end of August there’ll be a tremendous amount of work.”

Since the fall months will consist of “light trade” work like interior finishes, there should be no disruption to students and staff when they return to school, the superintendent said.

Residents in Cumberland and North Yarmouth in November 2016 voted by a 2 percent margin, 4,149 to 3,953, to borrow as much as $9.5 million to build the center.

Ground was broken at the site in October 2017.

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

The Greely Center for the Arts in Cumberland is on track to be completed by the end of this year.

Floor-to-ceiling windows will line the front of the Greely Center for the Arts in Cumberland.

The auditorium in the Greely Center for the Arts will seat 500 people.

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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.