April 05, 2020

Lamoine officials to solicit ideas for school project

LAMOINE – Something needs to be done for the local school, according to town officials, but they are still trying to work out exactly what.

That’s why they have scheduled a public information meeting about the project for local residents at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Lamoine Consolidated School.

James Willis of the town’s school building committee said Thursday that Lamoine officials are working on defining priorities for the project. Thursday’s meeting will be a chance for local residents to find out what planning has been done so far and to weigh in on what should be done going forward.

“It’s informational, to let the community know about the work we’ve been doing,” Willis said. “We’re really seeking their input.”

Funding for one key aspect of the anticipated project is being raised through the Jina’s Gym Fund, which is named after a local girl who died in an accident in 2005. Jina Haslam, 14, was bicycling along a local road in June last year when she was struck and killed by a motorist.

The gym needs to be replaced because it is too small for large gatherings such as annual town meeting and wintertime moisture on the gym floor makes it impossible to use.

“Lamoine can’t have home games,” Willis said. “In the winter there is condensation on it.”

According to Bonnie Marckoon, treasurer for Jina’s Gym Fund, $145,166 has been raised for it so far. The goal of the fund is to help pay for a new gym at the school and to help make it a safe and healthy environment for the town’s school children, Marckoon said Friday.

Willis said other issues that need to be addressed at the Route 184 building include upgrading the lighting, putting on a new roof, improving the water system, and redoing the septic system.

David Bridgham, business manager for School Union 92, said Friday that the town has qualified for $650,000 from the state in grant money and interest-free loans, but that those funds can only go toward system upgrades. Any other improvements, such as more space for computer and science laboratories, arts instruction, general classrooms or the gym, he said, likely will have to be funded through a local bond issue.

Bridgham said that any bond issue likely will have to go out to referendum by the end of next January in order to comply with state guidelines, which require that any improvements funded by the state program be substantially completed by the end of 2007.

According to Willis, the cost of the overall project has not yet been calculated.

“Essentially, we’re going to have to tear the building apart just to do those [system improvements],” he said. “We think a lot of [the funding] will have to be raised locally.”

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