Technical school expansion nears completion

Northern Penobscot Tech Region III Director Al Dickey walks through a new wing of the school on Friday, Nov. 12. A $2.33 million renovation and addition to the school is almost finished. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY NICK SAMBIDES JR.
Northern Penobscot Tech Region III Director Al Dickey walks through a new wing of the school on Friday, Nov. 12. A $2.33 million renovation and addition to the school is almost finished. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY NICK SAMBIDES JR.
Posted Nov. 12, 2010, at 10:58 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:28 a.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — A $2.33 million renovation and expansion of the Northern Penobscot Tech Region III school that is largely funded by federal stimulus money should be finished by mid-January, officials said Friday.

Save for the installation of a few thermostats, a good cleanup and the furniture it will require, the second floor to a two-story, 12,000-square-foot addition to the 87-year-old school is finished, Region III Director Al Dickey said. That floor will be used for health and science classes.

The first floor, which will contain two new machine shops for heavy equipment and building trades students, still needs insulation and Sheetrock for soundproofing, Dickey said.

“We do hope to be in a position in a week or two to turn over the second floor so that they can start moving in their furniture,” said Keith Collins, superintendent of Nichols Construction LLC of Hudson, the job’s lead contractor. “We are going to start doing cleanup next week. We’re actually ahead of schedule up there.

“Everything is going fine,” Collins added. “Everybody’s working together. It’s been a very good job. We’ve insulated, put in new windows. It’s going to be a lot better school.”

The furniture for the new classrooms in the addition is on order and should arrive within three weeks, Dickey said.

The renovation plan calls for closing two 35-year-old steel buildings in Howland and Lee. Besides two new shop areas and five classrooms, the renovation will give the school energy-efficient windows, LED lighting and R-50 insulation in its walls and ceilings. That should save $22,000 annually in heating oil and $15,000 in electricity, officials have said.

The renovation to the older part of the building was completed by September. The project will leave the region with one consolidated, energy-efficient building and replace the inefficient Region III Howland and Lee structures.

The work will cost Region III’s 28 northern Penobscot County towns a total of $19,281 annually for 15 years thanks to the federal stimulus bill, which has supplied an interest-free $2.33 million bond to be used as front money for the work. The towns’ residents approved the project by a large majority in a special October 2009 referendum.

The project’s lowest bidder, Nichols Construction, bid $1.5 million, about $400,000 less than expected.

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