DEXTER - Before a site selection subcommittee makes its recommendation for the location of a new school, it wants an architect to evaluate the Abbott Hill location of the primary and middle schools. The SAD 46 subcommittee has been charged with finding a location for the proposed construction of a new kindergarten-through-grade eight school, although the school board has not officially voted on that grade configuration.
Directors voted last week to accept the committee's interim report with that recommendation and agreed to hire Stephen Blatt of Portland to do the evaluation.
The condition of the middle school and its age has placed the district on the state Department of Education's protected list for school funding. The school has problems with its roof and heating system, and there are space issues. Since the Dexter Primary School is cramped and has its own problems, district officials are looking at the possibility of consolidating the two schools in a new building.
Several sites east of Dexter were identified as possible locations during the search, and these sites were scored for parking, traffic patterns, available utilities, location and size, among other criteria. One location off Route 94 has met most of the criteria.
An architect now will do the same evaluation for the Abbott Hill location. It is expected that this site will be disqualified because it offers little room for the amenities of a new school and has egress problems, but Mike McCormick, director and chairman of the facilities committee, said the scoring had to be done to show the public.
Members of the site selection committee are David Clukey, Matt McKusick, Kevin Webber, Bob Wetzler, Frank Spizuoco, Melvin Wyman and board member Art Jette.
Directors at first voted to table the interim report because they saw it as flawed since it did not include the Abbott Hill location and it included a reference to a K-8 school, a configuration never acted upon by the board.
"I believe this action is extremely ungracious," board Chairman Melvin Johnson said Wednesday. He called it a "really insulting action by the board" and said that he was grateful for the site committee's work. That prompted the board to revisit its earlier vote and to approve unanimously the interim report.
In other business, McCormick submitted his resignation from the board effective March 4 because of work commitments and for personal reasons.
McCormick said outside the meeting that he was frustrated with the lack of progress on the school project and noted that most other schools in the same funding round have completed their new construction. He
also expressed concern that meetings are held on school issues without the knowledge of the full.
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