Portland voters OK $30M plan to rebuild Hall School

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PORTLAND — Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved $29.7 million in state and local borrowing to replace the 60-year-old Fred P. Hall Elementary School.

Because the project has been included on the Department of Education’s Major Capital Construction Approved Projects List, only $1.4 million will have to be repaid locally.

School Board Chairwoman Marnie Morrione said rebuilding Hall has been a long time coming. “We appreciate Portland taxpayer support,” she said.

Mayor Ethan Strimling said the vote shows education is a priority in Portland. “This vote bodes well for the renovations that need to be completed at our four other elementary schools,” Strimling said in a prepared statement.

The new school, which will be built on the same 21-acre site as the existing building at 23 Orono Road, will be built to hold 588 students and is scheduled to open in 2018. Current enrollment at Hall is approximately 440, and students will continue to attend the existing school, which was built in 1956, while the new building is under construction.

The locally funded portion includes approximately $884,000 to expand the school cafeteria and gymnasium. Other improvements include safety upgrades, upgraded athletic fields, repaving the school road, and making the building more energy efficient.

Unofficial results Tuesday night showed the bond referendum for the school passed 1,812-293.

According to city data, there are more than 54,000 registered voters in Portland, meaning  less than 4 percent of voters turned out Tuesday, but just over 86 percent were in favor.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Portland voters on Tuesday, April 5, approved replacing the Fred P. Hall Elementary School at 23 Orono Road.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.