C.A. Snow School project starts to roll

By Emily Butterfield

Contributing Writer

FRYEBURG — Construction on a new elementary school set to replace C.A. Snow School is finally underway. Site work and tree removal has begun at Molly Ockett, where the new school will be attached to the existing middle school.

At the June 10 school board meeting, Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson was happy to announce that the bid for site work, being done by A.J. Coleman Co., from Conway, came in $240,000 under budget, at $2.99 million.

The bid for site work differed from actual construction. The hope is that if the foundation is poured and the building is “boxed off,” construction can continue into the wintertime. “We’ve lost a lot of time with bureaucratic paperwork,” said Superintendent Robinson. “But I think that everyone is still confident we can get done what needs to get done.”

The decision to build a new elementary school was approved by voters last June. Maine will be paying 66% of the cost of the building, with four towns, Denmark, Sweden, Stoneham, and Lovell, paying the remaining 34%.

Fryeburg, Brownfield, and Stow will not contribute anything due to meeting the mil rate for education. A cost sharing initiative was devised to split up the cost between each town so everyone would be paying for the construction, but this was defeated by voters in late May of last year.

The almost $29 million dollar project is set to be complete for the 2016–17 school year. The building will be able to house 577 students from pre-K to eighth grade, as well as all of the district fifth grade students. It will have a smaller gym for the younger students, a shared cafeteria and office space and other amenities. The Superintendent’s office will also be located at Molly Ockett.

Mechanical Engineer Jack Jones called the current Snow School a “failing building” last year and added that it was easier to attach a new school to Molly Ockett rather than to try and update the existing one because, “If you tried to renovate it, you would have to replace everything.” On top of that, the extremely outdated electrical system is not well-equipped and has even caused one fire already.

The new project also includes needed renovations to Molly Ockett, such as a new septic system and the introduction of a wood chip furnace to help save on heating costs.

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