Early voting returns favor renovation of tech school

Posted Oct. 06, 2009, at 11:22 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:12 p.m.

It’s far from over, but 10 of the 28 towns that reported vote totals to Al Dickey, Northern Penobscot Tech Region III high school director, showed strong support for a proposed $2.33 million school renovation on Tuesday.

“It’s looking really good,” Dickey said. “I think we should be cautious on calling it, but I am very pleased.”

Unofficial vote totals from the 10 towns late Tuesday showed a solid 433-187 majority in favor of the renovation, Dickey said.

School officials have said the work will cost the member towns a total of $19,281 annually thanks to the federal stimulus bill, which will supply an interest-free $2.33 million bond that will pay for the work.

The plan calls for closing two 35-year-old steel buildings in Howland and Lee and building a two-story, 12,000-square-foot addition to the 87-year-old Lincoln school, Dickey has said.

Besides two new shop areas and five classrooms, the renovation will give the Lincoln school energy-efficient windows, LED lighting and R-50 insulation in its walls and ceilings, said Foresight Engineering of Lincoln owner Ted Ocana, whose conceptual designs helped shape cost estimates.

That should create annual savings of $22,000 in heating oil and $15,000 in electricity, officials said.

The renovation will leave the region with one consolidated, energy-efficient building and replace the outdated and inefficient Howland and Lee structures, Ocana has said.

The largest town, and source of the largest vote total, was Lincoln, where 167 voters opted for the renovation and 38 voted against, Dickey said.

Voters George and Jeannette King of Lincoln placed themselves among residents favoring the action.

“I believe the [renovation] is a good thing for the community,” said Jeannette King, president of the Lincoln Historical Society. “This is something we need. It’s a good school. A lot of good kids have gone through there and I think a lot more kids are going to be going there.”

The next-largest town, Millinocket, favored the plan with a 76-46 vote. Of the 10 towns, only Springfield voted down the renovation, with 15 voters voting for it and 18 against, Dickey said.

Among the towns yet to be heard from are: Chester, Edinburg, Enfield, Glenwood Plantation, Lakeville, Lee, Lowell, Maxfield, Medway, Reed, Topsfield, Vanceboro and Woodville, Dickey said.

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