SAD 61 developing projects to ease parking, access issues at Songo Locks School, LRMS

How Lake Region Middle School would look

How Lake Region Middle School would look

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Finding a parking space or trying to safely drop off students during school rush hours can be difficult at Lake Region Middle and Songo Locks Elementary Schools.

Those issues could soon be eased.

Discussions by the SAD 61 School Board’s facilities and finance committees with Andy Madura, director of Transportation, Maintenance and Food Service, have resulted in two proposals to address these long-time concerns.

Madura unveiled sketches of proposed work to be done at the two schools (see graphics). In each case, there will be bus lanes and drop-off areas, similar to the design SAD 61 used at Stevens Brook Elementary in Bridgton.

At LRMS, the school presently has 77 parking spaces. The plan would bring the total to 116 spaces. Estimated cost is $228,000, but increased lighting, repairs to the back parking lot and sidewalks (about $50,000) and Maine Department of Environmental Protection approvals and survey ($12,000), the project will reach about $290,000.

How Songo Locks School would look

How Songo Locks School would look

At Songo Locks, there are presently 89 parking spaces and two handicap slots. The proposed project would include adding a second enter/exit point and increased parking. Thirty-six parking spaces will be designated as parent drop-off spots (but could also be used for parking during special events) with two handicap slots. Additional visitor parking would include 86 spaces and two handicap slots.

Projected cost is $468,618, which includes lighting upgrades and landscaping, but the wild card will be expenses created by DEP involvement, which Madura will not be able to lock down until the district’s application is reviewed by the state agency. Review can take several months, Madura noted. Survey and other work could be in the $25 to $27,000 range. To cover these costs, Madura will use funds from this year’s facility budget.

The school board will address how to finance the two projects once they begin creating the next budget.

Madura has been working with engineer Tom Greer of Pinkham & Greer of Portland.

Casco Director Stan Buchanan asked Madura whether the plan has too many parking spaces at SLS if SAD 61 revisits and reopens Crooked River for Grades 3, 5 and 5.

“I don’t think so,” Madura responded.

He recalled days at the high school when, due to limited space, vehicles were parked on the front lawn. When the district created more parking, vehicles are off green spaces and there is ample room.

Sebago Director Joe McMahon said the plan addresses both safety and traffic flow, making it a “sound plan” in his eyes.

In other school board meeting news:

Pilot program goes well. Making use of a new overhead four-speaker audio system, Lake Region Vocational Center Director Rosie Schacht, along with Jeannette Vanidistine and Sandy Arris, gave a spirited presentation on the Diversified Occupations Summer Employment program.

LRVC was selected by the Department of Labor to unveil the pilot work program, which started with seven students and finished with six (representing all four of the district’s towns).

This time around, the program targeted just LRVC students. Next time, Schacht hopes to include students from sending schools, Fryeburg Academy and Sacopee Valley as the program moves to take on 40 students.

Students spent some classroom time learning employment ability skills from learning how to write a resume, conflict resolution and proper hygiene.

Job opportunities were set up within the community and students were paid for their efforts. Job sites included: LRHS kitchen, Ricky’s Diner, Bridgton Community Center, Community H.E.L.P., Morning Glory Diner, Chute’s Cafe and Bridgton Rec.

Adult Ed report. Six students will graduate from the Adult Ed program on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at Crooked River School in Casco.

Adult Ed Director Madelyn Litz reported that there are 72 students enrolled in adult ed programming — 30 high school diploma/equivalency students, 33 college transition students, and nine adult transition students (who are exploring career opportunities).

Litz noted that Adult Ed would again be offering three college courses, which local high school students can take and earn college credits. Registration for students will be until Nov. 28, then open registration goes until Dec. 12.

Classes for fall Adult Ed programming was strong with 75% of the offerings listed in the brochure were offered.

Personnel. Jennifer Maynard was approved as a special education technician at Stevens Brook Elementary School. This is a new position. There were four applicants, three were interviewed.

Brian Gagne was approved as a long-term substitute special education teacher, replacing Kathleen Devoe who transferred to another position. There were four applicants, two were interviewed.

Kenneth Donahue was approved as a long-term substitute Spanish teacher at Lake Region Middle School, replacing Paula Miller. There were five applicants, two were interviewed.

Louise Chapman resigned as a special education technician at Lake Region Middle School.

Donations. Directors accepted $900 from Thomas Conway of Falmouth to purchase student water bottles, and $260 from the Richards Family Trust to be used for the Stevens Brook Elementary School greenhouse.

Conway is a family member of a staff person. This year, two “water stations” were installed at the school facility — one in the Lake Region Vocational Center wing and the other near the LRHS gym. The stations filter water.

Alma Richards makes an annual donation of $260 in memory of the 26 students and six teachers killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Fundraising continues for the SBES greenhouse project. Academic Leader Liz Shane recently secured a $3,000 grant from the Simmons Foundation.

Andy Madura, director of Maintenance, Transportation and Food Service, reported Monday night that the greenhouse will be 20 feet by 30 feet in size, and its placement will be in an area where it would not impede future school building expansion.

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