THORNDIKE, Maine — The Mount View school complex is scheduled to meet the wrecking ball over the next few weeks after having been a home to western Waldo County students for more than four decades.
Steve McGee of Steven A. McGee Construction from Gardiner said demolition of the school complex is expected to take four to five weeks. Once the site is cleared, the area will be graded and a running track, athletic fields and parking will take its place.
McGee said his crew would move on the school once the asbestos floor tiles are removed from the building, which had served as a high and junior high school for children from 11 surrounding towns since 1964.
McGee said the school closed its doors last Friday and the removal of portable classrooms for the elementary school had already begun.
“We’ll start with the junior high and move on from there,” McGee said Tuesday. “Once the tiles are gone, we’ll pull off the roofs and demolish the cement block walls. The rubble will all be taken to Hampden for disposal in a landfill.”
McGee said steel support beams from the gymnasium and shop would be sold as scrap and that other salable materials would be recycled as well.
SAD 3 was formed in 1958 and was made up of the communities of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo. It was the second school district created in Maine, coming right after SAD 1 in Presque Isle. There was no SAD 2.
Although the district was established in the late 1950s, it was not until the early 1960s that the member towns could agree on where the new school would be located, recalled Brooks native Stacy Lanphier, a member of Mount View High School’s first graduating Class of 1965.
Lanphier said the new school brought together high school students from smaller schools in Brooks, Liberty and Unity. His graduating class had 99 students, he said.
“We all came from schools with 25 to 30 kids, so it was new faces and new names. You knew the kids in your class and that was it,” Lanphier said Tuesday. “I knew a few other kids from Liberty and a few from Unity, that was it.”
Lanphier said the school took a long time to become a reality because the towns squabbled over its location and size. Despite the gap of 44 years, Lanphier can still recall the name of many of his teachers, secretary Minnie Raven and Principal Charlie Cosgrove. He also remembers the politics of trying to get it built in the first place.
“It took forever to get built. You know the trouble they’re having with consolidation today? Well, you can imagine those 11 small towns getting together back then. There were holdouts, but they finally decided to make it a little more equidistant to all the towns and stuck it in Thorndike,” he said.
Although it was a new environment and he was there for only one school year, Lanphier said he enjoyed the experience. He noted that “in the grand scheme of things” Mount View was not really that large a school, compared to its $40 million replacement. With its low-slung profile, Lanphier said, many in the area likened the old school to a chicken house.
“I had a good time there, I enjoyed school. It wasn’t traumatic or anything like that,” he said of the move to a larger school. “We had a new science lab which was nice. Today, I can’t even imagine having computer labs. They didn’t even exist.”