SAD 51 center named to embrace 'all the arts'

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CUMBERLAND — The School Administrative District 51 performing arts center now has an official name, unanimously approved by the School Board Dec. 4.

The Greely Center for the Arts is still on track, on budget, and expected to be completed in November 2018, although it may not open until January  2019, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Porter said Dec. 21.

The School Board “didn’t want to just designate it as ‘performing arts,'” he explained. “They wanted to include all the arts in the name.”

Residents in Cumberland and North Yarmouth in November 2016 voted by a 2 percent margin, 4,149 to 3,953, to borrow as much as $9.5 million to build the center.

The 26,000-square-foot building, designed by Stephen Blatt Architects to seat 500, is being built at the rear of Greely High School, on a leveled-off area between the 303 Main St. structure and its outdoor track. Detailed information on the project is posted at msad51.org.

Much has happened on the site since the center’s Oct. 2 groundbreaking. The foundation is complete, along with the elevator shaft and a required fire wall between the existing building and new center, Porter said. All the plumbing has been installed, as well as most underground utilities, with electrical conduits to be pulled this week from the high school into the new structure.

Most drainage is complete, with some left to do once the building is finished, the superintendent noted. An access road in the back has been re-routed, and contractor A.H. Grover has hauled in large amounts of dirt to level the area.

“All the prep work and site work is done for now,” Porter said.

While students were gone during Christmas vacation, steel was to be brought in to erect the building’s frame. That process should take about six to eight weeks.

The exterior walls will then be placed, and that brick work will likely not be complete until April, Porter said.

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

Elements of School Administrative District 51’s Greely Center for the Arts completed by Dec. 22 included the building’s foundation and the fire wall between it and Greely High School. The Cumberland structure should be complete in about a year.

This visual, posted at msad51.org, shows the planned stage area of the Greely Center for the Arts, to open in Cumberland in about a year.

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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.