EAST MACHIAS, Maine — While some Down East communities are considering closing their elementary schools or consolidating with neighboring schools, East Machias is remodeling and expanding its Elm Street School.
Work on a 3,200-square-foot addition began this week and will continue through the summer. The new space will include three classrooms and a conference room that will be used by the school’s approximately 200 Pre-K through eighth grade students when the 2012-13 school year begins.
The $987,500 project also involves replacing the existing school building’s flat roof, said Ken “Bucket” Davis, the Washington County community’s first selectman and the school’s head of transportation and maintenance.
“By putting a pitched roof over the entire building we can eliminate all the problems we’ve had over the years with leakage and ice dams,” Davis said. “There’s no insulation in the existing roof, which was not a big deal in 1968, when the first wing of the school was built, but it’s a real problem now, with fuel oil at $4 a gallon.”
The project is being funded through property taxes and was approved by voters who participated in a referendum last November. Of the 416 votes tallied, 271 were in favor of the construction. After receiving bids on the work from 10 different contractors, the job was awarded to Devoe Construction of Eagle Lake, Maine.
Principal Tony Maker said Wednesday the new addition will relieve overcrowding. He now teaches an algebra class in the school’s library and said music classes are now held in athletic locker rooms.