June 05, 2020

Brewer committee rewrites school facilities plan

BREWER – On Wednesday, the Strategic Planning Subcommittee of the Brewer School Committee modified its long-range plans for the school district to include building a combined elementary-middle school.

“It’s been recommended to adjust our long-range facilities plans so we’re pursuing major capital construction funds for a K-8 building as well as a revolving renovations fund for upgrades for the high school,” Superintendent Betsy Webb said.

The school is looking to acquire revolving renovation funds from the Maine Board of Education to pay for the projects. The funds fall into three categories – priority one, health and safety; priority two, infrastructure; and priority three, learning space. Webb said Brewer is applying for all three types of funding, but said the district will apply for priority three funds first because of a Nov. 1 deadline.

According to a draft version of the long-range plans, “Brewer has a vision of consolidating our six aged schools, which are between 50 to 100 years old, into two schools. One school would be for Brewer students in grades pre-K to 8 and the other school would be a comprehensive high school to serve as a community-learning center for Brewer resident students and for nonresident students from surrounding communities without their own high schools.”

If the long-range plans are approved, Brewer Middle School, State Street School, Washington Street School, Pendleton School and Capri Street School would eventually be closed and Brewer High School would receive renovations.

“Originally we were looking at the high school as something to replace,” said Mark Chambers, chairman of the school committee.

However, after meeting with state officials, it was determined the elementary and middle schools in the community are more needy. According to reports, all six schools in Brewer have significant facility deficiencies, are full to capacity, fail to meet Maine Learning Results and are inefficient.

The school committee and the Brewer High School District Trustees would have to agree to go ahead with the long-range plans, before proceeding. The plans will be placed on the school committee’s April agenda. If approved it will be presented to the trustees, before June.

If all goes well, the next step would be to get Board of Education representatives to come back to Brewer for an inspection and review. Then the project would be placed on the state’s priority list.

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