North Yarmouth begins work on new Wescustogo Hall

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NORTH YARMOUTH — If all goes according to schedule, a new Wescustogo Hall could be open in fall of 2019.

The new Wescustogo will replace the Route 115 Grange destroyed by fire in 2013. It will sit next to a renovated and pared-down former North Yarmouth Memorial School, and be attached to that building through a lobby.

NYMS was closed by School Administrative District 51 in 2014 and turned over to the town, and has since been used for Town Meetings, elections and community activities. The 120 Memorial Highway building was scheduled to be closed Friday, July 20, with playground equipment removed that day.

High-resolution photos of the building’s murals are being taken through next month, with canvas prints possibly to be made for display in the renovated building’s gym.

Its heating, utilities and alarm systems are being shut down, and the building is being cleaned out. Municipal items will be placed in storage trailers.

Demolition of the 42-year-old structure’s front and back wings is to take place in September, with the gym, stage, kitchen and hallway areas preserved and renovated. Reconstruction will then begin, and the building is to be weathertight by Dec. 31.

Residents voted 781-642 last month to approve borrowing $3.4 million to fund the project. The total projected cost of $3.67 million is being offset by nearly $431,000 in insurance funds remaining from the original Wescustogo Hall. A 7 percent additional contingency of about $224,000 is included in the bond amount.

The project also has a fundraising goal of $250,000.

With $1.3 million in interest added over the 20-year life of the bond, the total amount to be borrowed is $4.8 million.

Since last month’s vote, town officials have held pre-construction meetings every two weeks with Barrett Made, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said July 19. The Portland-based design and construction company has worked with the Wescustogo Hall Building and Design Committee to develop the 17,000-square-foot community center.

Ryan Keith, the town’s code enforcement officer, will serve as the project’s owner representative – Barrett Made will report to him, and he will report to Roy – and is to begin presenting construction updates at each Select Board meeting beginning Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The project is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 31, 2019.

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

A new Wescustogo Hall, connected through a lobby to a pared-down and renovated former North Yarmouth Memorial School at 120 Memorial Highway, is due to be complete by Oct. 31, 2019.

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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.