HAMPDEN, Maine — SAD 22 has awarded Phase II of its new school construction project to a Massachusetts contractor that is scheduled to begin building a new Hampden Academy as early as next month.
J&J Contractors Inc. of Lowell, Mass., was the low bidder for Phase II at $28.4 million, or slightly more than half of that $51.6 million project, SAD 22 officials said recently.
Phase I of the project, which encompassed a variety of site improvements, was awarded last year to Sargent Corp. of Stillwater. That site work, including utility infrastructure, tree clearing and road maintenance, began last fall and will continue this spring with the building of new athletic fields.
“A lot of work has been done already, but I think when people start seeing a new building, it’s going to feel real,” Superintendent Rick Lyons said.
The new school, the most expensive in state history, is slated to open just before the start of the 2012 school season.
J&J Contractors has experience building schools throughout New England, although none in Maine, according to Lyons. The Massachusetts company, however, was responsible for main construction of the new Calais-St. Stephen border crossing.
Although an out-of-state firm has been hired, SAD 22 Assistant Superintendent Emil Genest said it’s important to note that nearly all of the subcontractors listed for the project hail from the Bangor or Portland area. They include: Maine Masonry Co. Inc. of Portland, Porter Drywall of Portland; Ted McLeod Water Wells of Hermon, which will install the school’s geothermal heating system; ABM Mechanical Inc. of Bangor; E.S. Boulos Co. of Portland for electrical work; and Hughes Brothers Inc. of Hampden for additional site work.
Additionally, WBRC Architects and Engineers of Bangor designed the new school.
Genest said the best part of J&J Contractors’ bid is that it came in at about $3 million less than SAD 22 projected.
“It’s great because some alternate items that were delayed as part of Phase I can now be done,” he said.
The first is an upgrade to the entrance of Reeds Brook Elementary School off Route 1A, which would connect to the new school site to create a comprehensive campus between Routes 1A and 202. The second alternate item that now will be included in Phase II is the addition of 92 parking spaces.
Last fall, voters from Hampden, Newburgh and Winterport — the three towns that make up SAD 22 — passed a referendum to move forward with a new school. The project includes $45.4 million in funding from the state Department of Education and $6.2 million that will be paid for by taxpayers in the three towns.
The local share funds elements of the project that the state would not fully fund, including:
• A 900-seat performing arts center that could support the entire student body and faculty, estimated to cost $2.6 million.
• Expanded science classrooms and laboratories that meet national standards, estimated at $1 million.
• A gymnasium and wellness center with the same capacity as Hampden Academy’s existing Skehan Center, projected to cost $1.7 million.
• An efficient alternative-energy system that includes a geothermal component.