Groundbreaking for Brunswick elementary school slated for Nov. 19

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BRUNSWICK — Workers continued to prepare the site of the new elementary school on McKeen Street this week, setting the stage for a Nov. 19 groundbreaking.

Technically speaking, they have been turning earth all summer to make way for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School. The Nov. 19 ceremony, however, will signal the beginning of actual construction.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for 3 p.m. on the McKeen Street side of the site. The event will be pushed to Nov. 20 in case of inclement weather.

Alan Kuniholm, of PDT Architects, said concrete footings would likely be the first step in construction. Kuniholm said he believes the construction firm, Ledgewood Construction, is planning to work through the winter to meet the school’s completion date of July 2011.

The School Board on Oct. 28 voted 5-1 to accept a $14.4 million construction bid for the project. 

This week workers were thinning several large pine and oak trees on the McKeen Street side of the site. Kuniholm said the town’s arborist, Peter Baecher, was consulted.

“They tried to save as many trees as they can, but some have to come down,” Kuniholm said.

The new school will replace Hawthorne Elementary School, which closed in June, and Longfellow, which is expected to close after the 2010-2011 school year.

The new school will hold students in grades 3 through 5.

The district is also considering reconfiguring grades at Jordan Acres and Coffin Elementary schools. One option would send students in kindergarten through grade 2 to both schools, while others include pre-kindergarten through grade 2 at both schools, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten at Jordan Acres, grades 1 and 2 at Coffin or school choice.

The School Board is expected to decide on the configuration next year. For now, the district is seeking resident input through a survey. It can found at

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or