RSU 1 nears fundraising goal for new Bath high school

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BATH — The Regional School Unit 1 superintendent had to shout his good news over the sound of construction vehicles Oct. 3 at the site of the new Morse High School.

“We’re at $555,000, roughly, of our $700,000 goal for fundraising, which will provide us with a lot of extras for this building,” Patrick Manuel told a group of project committee and community members during a tour of the Wing Farm business park work area.

RSU 1 voters last November approved a construction bond by a 3-1 margin. The state is funding $67.4 million of the $75.3 million cost; $7.2 million is to be paid locally through borrowing, with $700,000 earmarked from fundraising.

“This has been a great start,” RSU 1 board Chairman Steve August told the audience, expressing gratitude for the support the project has received.

Manuel, August, and other hard-hatted people closely involved in the process then plunged golden shovels into a pile of dirt to celebrate the school’s groundbreaking. Site work is expected to continue through next March, with construction to be complete in time for an August 2020 opening.

A more official opening, with a ribbon-cutting, is to be held next March or April, Manuel said.

The new Morse, which will incorporate the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, replaces the 1920s structure at 826 High St. Access will be from a reconfigured Anchor Road.

Praising the hard work that’s gone into planning the project for more than two years, Manuel said the school “is going to be something for our students, staff and the community.”

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

At the Bath site of a new Morse High School on Oct. 3, Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel tells a group of community members about the progress made so far in the project, due to be complete in 2020.

A group of people closely involved in the planning of the new Morse High School in Bath donned hard hats Oct. 3 for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Wing Farm business park site. From left are architect Ron Lamarre, RSU 1 Director of Maintenance Dave Richards, RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel, and RSU 1 board members Lou Ensel, Anita Brown, Jennifer Ritch-Smith, Steve August and Alan Walton.

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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.