North Yarmouth to break ground on new Wescustogo Hall

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NORTH YARMOUTH — A new chapter in the story of Wescustogo Hall will open Sept. 13, when the town celebrates the start of construction for the successor to the old Grange.

The public event will take place at 120 Memorial Highway at 10 a.m., with light refreshments to follow. Select Board Chairwoman Jennifer Speirs, Wescustogo Hall Building and Design Committee Chairman Brian Sites, Wescustogo Grange Hall Association member Linc Merrill, and Town Manager Rosemary Roy will be handling the golden shovels.

Representatives from Barrett Made, the Portland-based design and construction company that has worked with the Wescustogo committee to develop the 17,000-square-foot community center, will also be in attendance.

The Wescustogo Hall & Community Center will replace the building on Route 115 that was destroyed by fire in 2013. It will sit next to a renovated and partly demolished former North Yarmouth Memorial School, and be attached to that building through a lobby.

Since being closed by School Administrative District 51 in 2014 and turned over to the town, NYMS has been used for Town Meetings, elections and community activities. It was closed in July in advance of the work ahead.

The property is now fenced in, the building is empty and the power shut off, and gasoline and oil have been extracted, Roy said Aug. 29. Partial demolition is due to begin Monday, Sept. 17. After that the building’s remaining gym, stage, kitchen and hallway areas will be renovated.

The town is paying Abatement Professionals $36,000 to remove asbestos from the 1976 structure, and Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating of Yarmouth is getting about $123,700 for the demolition, Roy said.

Those funds come from a $3.4 million bondtown voters approved last November. 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, and 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.

The new community center is scheduled be completed by November 2019.

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

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Wescustogo Hall & Community Center, due to open in 14 months, will be held at 120 Memorial Highway, North Yarmouth, at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 13.

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.