Wescustogo Community Center takes shape in North Yarmouth

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Progress has been rapid over the past month on the Wescustogo Hall & Community Center, where two wings of the former North Yarmouth Memorial School have been demolished and cleared.

Stakes mark the outline for a new adjoining Wescustogo, where the foundation is to be poured this month, Matt Ahlberg of Barrett Made said at the 120 Memorial Highway (Route 9) property on Nov. 9. Barrett Made is a Portland-based design and construction company that has worked with the town to develop the planned 17,000-square-foot community center.

The center will replace the former Grange on Route 115, next to the renovated remainder of NYMS – the gym, stage, kitchen and hallway areas – and be attached to that building through a lobby. Fire destroyed the original Wescustogo in August 2013, and the replacement project narrowly passed in a referendum last November.

The grade on which the new Wescustogo will stand will be brought up to the same level as NYMS’s gym. Framing of the outside walls will start once the foundation walls and slabbing are in place.

“We’ll hope for good weather, but we’ll work around it if we have to,” Ahlberg said, noting that the project is “trending on schedule, or a little bit ahead of schedule.”

Framing of the new Wescustogo is planned for January, with roofing to follow the next month, Project Manager Bruce Hourigan said Nov. 8.

“That’s when we’ll be flying the trusses, and getting this thing closed in and looking more like a structure, and get the full visual,” he explained. “Definitely by early March it’s going to look like a building.”

The center is due to be complete next October.

Hourigan is coming full circle with his work on the project: he attended third through sixth grades at NYMS in the late 1980s.

“It’s been a while,” he said with a smile, noting that murals in the gym that were recently exposed for the first time in years were visible when he attended.

Town voters approved a $3.4 million bond for the project 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. 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.

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

Matt Ahlberg of Barrett Made, the design and construction company developing a 17,000-square-foot community center in North Yarmouth, stands in front of a pared-down North Yarmouth Memorial School, with stakes marking the outline of a new Wescustogo Hall.

The gym at the former North Yarmouth Memorial School – as well as the building’s stage, kitchen and hallway areas – have been retained for renovation.

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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.