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As new-building costs rise, Brunswick School Board eyes renovations

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As new-building costs rise, Brunswick School Board eyes renovations

BRUNSWICK — The anticipated cost of a new elementary school has swelled to $26.3 million, more than $2 million above previous estimates.

At its meeting June 11, the School Board put the brakes on the project, to reconsider its priorities after voting to move the fifth grade to the Junior High School last month.

“We’re taking a pause from moving forward with that project,” School Board Chairwoman Michele Joyce said this week.

In a presentation to the board at its meeting, Lyndon Keck, of Portland Design Team, told the board that rapidly escalating inflation in the construction market is driving the increased costs.

The estimated cost of the school was $24 million in March, when the board voted to build the new school at the location of the former Jordan Acres School.

Brunswick may be able to get some state aid for a new school, but there is little expectation that funding will be forthcoming in the near future.

Board members asked PDA to update its designs with less classroom space and to incorporate a pre-kindergarten through first-grade model, but also requested updated prices for renovations to Coffin Elementary School and Brunswick Junior High.

Last year, the board rejected a plan to renovate the two schools after receiving a $38 million cost estimate from PDA.

But with the threat of overcrowding at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School apparently diminished by the board’s decision to move the fifth grade in the 2015-2016 school year, the board is reconsidering those plans.

“Now we need to look at all of the options again,” Joyce said. “We’re going to have a whole new class of kids at the Junior High, so if that building is going to be running, we need to make sure that any problems need to be addressed and it is running smoothly."

The new school and renovations are part of a facilities master plan the board has been considering for more than three years.

According to Superintendent Paul Perzanoski, the board has spent approximately $250,000 on the project.

On Wednesday, after an executive session that lasted more than three hours, School Board members extended Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski’s contract for another year, through the 2018-2019 school year.

They also approved a 3 percent salary increase for Perzanoski, to $134,489, effective July 1.

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or pmcguire@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @mcguiremidcoast.