SAD 75 residents to discuss amenities for new Topsham high school

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TOPSHAM — Residents of School Administrative District 75 can weigh in at a forum next week on amenities they would like to see in a new high school.

The meeting, which will also offer an update on the progress of the construction project, will take place in the commons area of Mt. Ararat High School, 73 Eagles Way, from 6:30-8 p.m.

Voters in the four district towns could decide at referendum this November or next June whether to build a new school and replace the existing, 43-year-old structure.

The cost of the project, still being determined, depends on the final design.

Faced with a variety of configurations of the existing school campus provided by Portland-based architectural firm PDT, the project’s Building Committee chose an option that would place the new school where the sports fields are – to one side of the school access road – and then put new fields where the existing school sits, on the other side of the road.

A detailed visual is available at construction.link75.org.

While the state will fund items already approved by the Department of Education, additional elements must be chosen and paid for by the district; revenue sources could include local funding and fundraising, according to Superintendent Brad Smith.

Unfunded expenditures include athletics, high-performance building additions, and academic classroom projects, Smith explained. The most expensive of those projects is 10 additional classrooms for teachers, at a cost of about $2 million, and $1.5 million for 5,000 square feet of additional classroom space.

The least expensive would be a second gym scoreboard for $15,000.

Mt. Ararat High students would remain in place during construction of the new building, and move into the new facility when it is complete. The current school would be demolished, and new fields built in its place. Fields at other locations would be used in the interim.

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

The preferred design of a new Mt. Ararat High School would place the school where sports fields currently sit.

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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.