THORNDIKE, Maine — Three Mount View High School seniors who toured the new Mount View School complex on Sunday with hundreds of other local people, said they were in awe of the new facility.
“It’s something to be proud of,” said Jon Shaw, 17, of Freedom while standing in the school’s lobby looking at the trophy case with friends Angie Laliberte and Zach Babin.
“I love it,” said Laliberte, 17, of Jackson. A member of the school’s chamber singers, she said she especially liked the new performance arts center, which features a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system and tiered seating for 300.
All three teens said having more space just to move around is a huge plus over the old 1964 school, which sits next to the new $40 million school and is being torn down.
“The hallways definitely won’t be so crowded,” said Babin, 18, of Unity, comparing the new 175,000-square-foot school to the one being replaced.
The massive building is divided into separate wings for elementary, middle school and high school level students with hallways ending at a central core area that includes the main offices, libraries, auditorium, kitchen and cafeteria.
The new school has two gyms and two libraries, and each of the 78 classrooms has a SMART board, an interactive white board that can connect to the Internet and other resources.
Sharon Turner, a 1965 graduate of Mount View, was one of several people who spoke during Sunday’s dedication ceremony.
She said she remembers looking down the old school’s hallway 45 years ago and thinking, “How awesome.”
“At graduation this year I looked down that hallway and it was dark and dingy,” Turner said. “It was certainly time for a change.”
She said the new SAD 3 school not only brings together youth from 11 rural towns, it also creates a true opportunity for them to begin to build rewarding futures for themselves.
Sophie Veilleux, president of the senior class, said she expects the new school to create an attitude change among her fellow students that should empower them to better their lives.
With a new attitude “comes new inspiration,” she said.
She said that by attending “one of the most advanced schools in the state” the students can show others they’re capable of achieving anything.
Former Principal Rodney McElroy, Kathy Cunningham, SAD 3 board member from Freedom, Glenn Couturier, SAD 3 board chairman, and Superintendent Joseph Mattos also spoke during the ceremony.
“If everyone who should be mentioned was, we’d be here for hours,” Cunningham said.
The school will feature an eight-lane running track, multipurpose field and soccer field. The fields used by the old school will remain. The school will have fields for baseball, field hockey, football, softball, soccer and track. There also will be outdoor basketball courts.
Among the items the state will not fund are scoreboards, bleachers, lights and dugouts, for which a community group is raising funds.
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.
The 11 western Waldo County communities now make up Regional School Unit 3, SAD 3’s new name under the state’s school administration consolidation effort.
Taxpayers from those towns contributed $184,000 to the $40 million school construction project. The state paid the rest.
JCN Construction of Manchester, N.H., is the general contractor for the school, which was designed by Oak Point Associates of Biddeford.
Laliberte, Babin and Shaw all said they are more excited for school to start now that there is a new facility. Students will start school on Tuesday.
“It’s something new and it’s not the same old, same old,” Laliberte said.