May 22, 2018
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RSU 26 referendum details set

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — Voters from Riverside RSU 26 will be asked to borrow up to $645,000 through no-interest loans for projects that aren’t eligible for grants the unit already has landed for a series of building upgrades slated to begin next spring.

The referendum votes will take place Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the municipal buildings in each of the RSU’s three member towns. Orono’s polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Glenburn voting will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and voting in Veazie will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Superintendent Douglas Smith said Tuesday that the $645,000 the RSU seeks to borrow is part of the overall budget for a series of improvements that includes major heating system upgrades, in some cases replacing 50- to 70-year-old infrastructure, and bringing all schools up to current air quality standards.

Smith said that the work will not affect the RSU’s budget or the property tax rates of its member municipalities.

A presentation posted on Riverside RSU’s website shows that the bulk of the work will be done with grant money from the state’s revolving renovation loan program, federal stimulus dollars from the Qualified School Construction Bond, a projected $67,000 a year in energy savings, the reinvestment of retiring debt service and utility rebates from the Efficiency Maine Program.

Specifically, the loans will pay for the following renovations and improvements:

ä Orono High School — chemistry lab improvements, pavement and parking lot improvements, tile replacement and improvement, entrance construction and upgrades, breezeway renovations, utility storage shed replacement and other unspecified improvements.

ä Orono Middle School — modification of the entrance to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, tile replacement and improvement, locker replacement, gymnasium floor resurfacing and other improvements.

ä Asa C. Adams Elementary School — parking lot renovations and improvements.

ä Glenburn School — installation of an emergency generator.

Smith said the RSU decided to tackle the project now because it has access to funding opportunities the unit likely never would see again.

“It’s a golden opportunity for the RSU to accomplish a lot in terms of school improvements at a very favorable rate and at a very favorable annual payment schedule,” Smith said.

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