Superintendent on Fryeburg school project: ‘Work won’t impact quality of education’

By Emily Butterfield

Contributing Writer

FRYEBURG — Although school started for SAD 72 students Tuesday, Sept. 1, construction crews have been working diligently over the long and hazy summer to move the $20 million expansion project along.

In June of 2014, district voters approved the new elementary school that is soon to be attached to the existing Molly Ockett Middle School. It will encompass kindergarten through grade eight, as well as a new superintendent’s office that is meant to be more cost effective.

Although from the outside the sound of trucks backing up and earth being moved can be heard and felt, Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson is confident there will be nothing for parents, teachers or students to worry about.

“The work going on won’t impact the quality of education,” he said. “There will be nothing volatile such as demolition or noisy work that will distract students from the work at hand.”

He added that the construction could potentially provide a “teachable moment” to the eighth grade class, which has been working on a project involving architecture. Recess will still be held outside. There are clear, marked-off areas forbidden for students to access.

Superintendent Robinson is still hopeful that the foundation can be set and the frame of the new school in place before the start of winter so that work can continue and not be stalled due to the snow.

Cheerfully, at the Aug. 19 school board meeting, the superintendent was happy to announce that the bid for the general contractor, who could not be named yet, came in nearly $700,000 under budget. In June of this year, the bid for site work was also under budget by $240,000. It was awarded to A.J. Coleman.

Robinson stressed that the building would not be compromised in any way, but that the contract bids were much less than was expected. Nearly $1,000,000 so far has been saved on the project, a trend that many hope will continue.

A fresh coat of black top and markings were placed down last week, bus and student drop off and parking are expected to run more smoothly.

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