May 26, 2018
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Medway looking at renovations to make middle school more community-friendly

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MEDWAY, Maine — Medway Middle School is also a community center of sorts and its cafeteria is in a very old and worn portable building, officials noted Wednesday.

That’s why the Medway School Committee will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, to discuss three schemes for replacing the portable building with an addition housing a cafeteria and auditorium, officials said.

The idea, committee Chairman Greg Stanley said, is to begin exploring how to correct a flaw in the building while adding to its viability as a place all Medway residents use. No building costs have been set or approvals given.

“This is a work in progress,” Superintendent Quenten Clark said Wednesday. “They [school board members] are looking for a concept for where community can go if it chooses to. We are in very early stages.”

The earliest possible date for construction would be the summer of 2013, Clark said.

The meeting at Medway Middle School will precede the annual town meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the school, town officials said.

School enrollments are declining and less state aid to the town is expected, enough so that Clark has raised the possibility of closing Schenck High School, but the project is being pursued anyway because it needs to be done at some point soon, Clark said.

“Medway hasn’t increased its local funding to the schools in some years. They have been flat-funding the schools for quite some time,” Clark said. “They have been thrifty with their resources and they are at a point where they want to invest in their school.”

Committee members see the necessity of thrift and utility, Stanley said.

“There is no number [cost] attached to this because we want to make something the town can afford,” Stanley said. “The town is not going to go into a big debt and we don’t want them to. We want something they [taxpayers] can agree with even if we have to do it in phases.”

According to preliminary drawings:

• One of the three plans features a new cafeteria, 160-square-foot music room, a stage and 80-seat dining area that would eliminate another aged portable building where music is taught. It would include renovations that would create a new kitchen and freezer space. All would be built around the existing gymnasium.

• A second plan features a new gym, lobby and principal’s office with renovated bathrooms and renovated areas converted to a stage, music and storage rooms.

• The third plan features a new gym with bleachers to seat 275, a new lobby, principal’s office and office conference room, new athletic office, locker rooms, storage space and freezer areas. Renovated spaces would hold a 300-seat theater and stage, dressing and storage rooms, music classroom and smaller music practice areas all built around the school’s existing kitchen, along with renovated bathrooms.

Architects from the firm Bunker and Savage will discuss plans and possibly provide early cost estimates. Costs could range from several hundred thousand to several million dollars, Stanley said.

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