Letter to the Editor: School project extremely important

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On Tuesday September 15 the citizens of the Mt. Blue Regional School District (SAD 9) will be casting their votes on the construction of a renovation and addition to the Mt. Blue Learning Campus for Foster Regional Applied Technology Center and Mt. Blue High School. This is an extremely important vote for the citizens and for our present and future high school students. The time has come to upgrade our high school/tech center.

The plans for this project were done with the students and community in mind. It is described as being able to educate student’s grades 9 through 14. DON’T worry the state did not mandate extra years!!! The additional grades recognize the extremely successful adult education program and the ever growing community college effort.

The concept for the school design came from the students, public, teachers, business leaders and school administrators. The new campus will be a cross generational learning campus designed to encourage community use of the facility. This learning campus will have an industrial incubator lab to encourage the creation of new local small businesses. It will allow for the full integration of career technical courses with traditional high school course. It will bring new technologies like composites and biotech to the students first hand.

Energy-wise the new building will incorporate many new sustainable technologies such as geothermal, wind, solar, photovoltaic, and wood chips. Not only will these technologies be used to heat and light the school but will serve as educational opportunities for the students to learn about such futuristic systems.

The project will use about 60% of the existing building. This includes the existing access from the Seamon Road. Significant cost reduction was realized by renovating and adding to the current facility and remaining on the same site.

The cost you ask? The total project cost will be a little over 64 million dollars. The State of Maine will cover nearly 94 % through bonds. About 5% or 3.5 million dollars will be the local cost. Assuming a standard 20-year construction bond with an average 5% interest rate a home valued at $100,000 will pay about $25 per year or $2.08 per month to cover the local share. This is a small investment for the future of our community.

If the project is rejected by the voters, the money spent to date will not be reimbursed, and we will lose our opportunity to access these funds. This money will then be offered to other school systems on the State School Construction list. It will be a very long time before we get a chance again.

Our time has come. Our high school needs to be upgraded. We need to replace the heating system. We need to get rid of the portable class rooms. We need to discontinue the use of an outdated sewerage treatment plant. We need to create a learning environment for our future citizens. We need to create a viable community center for the area. We, through our income taxes, have supported other town’s school projects, now it is our turn. Tuesday September 15, 2009 will be your opportunity to cast your vote.
 

Tom Saviello
Wilton

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