Comments for: New Hampden Academy blends old with new and can serve as community center

Posted July 12, 2012, at 9:45 p.m.

HAMPDEN | With a $49.2 million price tag, the big test in designing and building the new Hampden Academy was getting the most bang for taxpayer bucks. As Sargent Corp. and Massachusetts-based J and J Construction workers put the finishing touches on the 175,000-square-foot facility situated just off Western …

Guidelines for posting on bangordailynews.com

The Bangor Daily News encourages comments about stories, but you must follow our terms of service.

  1. Keep it civil and stay on topic
  2. No vulgarity, racial slurs, name-calling or personal attacks.
  3. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked.
The primary rule here is pretty simple: Treat others with the same respect you'd want for yourself. Here are some guidelines (see more):

  • Anonymous

    I was seated in a local eatery in Hampden behind 4 HA students the other day.  They are furious with the new school design.  They referred to it as “Leavenworth Academy”.  The security features and cameras are going to seriously disrupt their drug trade and they are not liking it one bit.   I’m sure they will find a way to circumvent it and the Academy’s unabated focus on its attendance policy with continue in force.

    • Anonymous

      I am delighted that these kids, which exist in every high school, are furious.  It will allow those students who want to get the most our of their education to do so while the punks are dealt with by law enforcement.

      • Anonymous

        It’s too bad that all children in the state of Maine didnt get the same opportunity to enjoy such a beautiful school and new building at the taxpayer’s expense…I find this monstrousity in today’s world to be well over done, far more than should have been spent and rediculous given the times we are presently living in.

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps they could dig a mote around the new school and call it Alcatraz Academy…..

    • Anonymous

       I have a question, did they say that the security was going to disrupt their drug trade or did you infer that from their dislike of the new surveillance systems?

  • Anonymous

    What an excessive waste of taxpayer money!  The most expensive school in Maine’s history.  A multi-story building with glass facades, a 125-foot-long, 24-foot high, 10-inch-thick glass wall (gosh, how much did that cost?), an arts center, a cinema(!), and world class athletic fields does not add up to a better education.  It is incredible that this school was ever approved.  Add to this the $40,000,000 schools recently built in Thorndike, Brewer, and Ellsworth and you start spending some serious money.  And that is just in the Bangor region.  Good grief!

    • Anonymous

      The taxpayers had to approve  each of these projects.  The particular project was approved by a vast majority.  They also voted to add an additional 6.5 mill. for geothermal energy, larger gym, more seats in the auditorium, and larger science labs.  

      • Anonymous

        You are mistaken, the vast majority of taxpayers who will be paying for this school had no say in this other than perhaps remotely by their state and national representatives. Sure maybe the folks in Hampden, after 15 years of harassment, finally caved and approved this project but I don’t live in Hampden and I’ll still end up having my tax dollars going to support this and those other ridiculous economic follies I listed that were foisted on the public.  You do not need this kind of university class facility to provide students with the education they require to be successful adults.  It is stupidity in the extreme which is kind of ironic considering this is an educational facility.

        • Anonymous

          There were many hoops to jump through to get this project approved.  There were several public forums in which people could express their opinions and concerns.  Your analysis of “stupidity in the extreme”  makes one conclude that you’ve never stepped foot in a classroom to observe the challenges educators face.  In spite of these challenges, educators in Hampden have produced great results with our kids.   We feel our kids are worth the investment in creating this first rate educational facility.  

        • Anonymous

          Yes, investing tax dollars in education, that is the epitome of stupidity…

          • Anonymous

            You must be a politician msoucy21.   You can write a twisted, deliberately misinterpreted and sarcastic reply to my comment however your take on what I said isn’t accurate and I think you know that.  I did not say anywhere in my post that investing in education is stupid.  What I said was this school, with all its accouterments, was stupid.  Ditto for the other 3 recent schools that I listed.  The term “first rate educational facilities” are used as a delusional argument to facilitate spending at a level never before foisted upon the taxpayer in Maine.  What really makes an education first rate is the teachers.  As michdawg so aptly pointed out, the teaching staff in Hampden have done quite well thank you using the old facility.  That alone proves my point.  It is all well and good to “feel our kids are worth the investment….” but the trouble is the rest of us end up paying for your good feelings.  Feelings which have absolutely nothing to do with a quality education.

          • Anonymous

            Learning depends on more than good teachers. The environment the students and the teachers are in also affects learning.

            How much learning do you think could happen if, to take things to extremes, you had the world’s best science teacher, but that teacher had to hold class in a shack with no insulation and the temperature 0 degrees outside?

            A hot, stuffy classroom with dim lighting that has students crammed into it isn’t going to be as conducive to learning as a spacious one that is well-lit and well-ventilated.

            If you’re comfortable, you’re going to learn much better because you’ll be focused on the material, not fretting about being hot, cold, cramped, or in dungeon-like lighting.

      • Anonymous

         The state dictates how much “art” etc has to be in the building.  Everything has to be OK’ed by the DOE before it can happen. The “extras”  the larger gym, labs and performing arts center were approved by the voters and will be paid for by the tax payers of the three member towns, Hampden, Newburgh and Winterport.  In the old Academy the students had to deal with portable class rooms, leaky roofs, mold issues, abspetos, no parking, antiquated heating, no cooling, not kitchen, just warming stations and the list goes on. The school needed to be replaced.

        People say the kids are complaining it is a prison, so sad that they might not be able to sneak away when they should be in school. Lord forbid that they be where their parents think they are.  The school is built to current safety standards. Who would have thought we want to keep the kids safe.

        I am sure then next school the state approves will end up being the next most expensive school built. Prices are not going down any time soon.

    • Anonymous

      Where the hell in this building is a cinema? Answer: there isn’t.

      • Anonymous

        Look in the section entitled: Blending Old and New, 3rd paragraph down.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, the cafeteria has a screen in it. So does most schools in this state. By no means is it a ‘cinema’. I’ve been in this school several times and have a copy of the blueprints. Stop talking about this building like you’ve actually been in it.

          • Anonymous

            I’m going by what I read in this article and others.  I seem to recall reading that the real price for this behemoth was closer to $60,000,000 by the time everything was added up.  The most expensive school in Maine history!  Yes, I drive by the facility almost daily though I have never been inside.

    • Anonymous

      You are angry at the world. And you have your facts ALL wrong. Everyone in Winterport, Hampden, and Newburgh who CHOOSE to vote, voted on the referendum for this school. Maybe you should do your research before you start making preposterous assumptions about a town you don’t even live in! The majority voted for this school to be built. As a Hampden Academy graduate, I am absolutely elated that I can say this school was built in my hometown and if I still lived there, I would be MORE than happy to pay the taxes knowing my children would be offered the best education with the best quality behind it, while contributing to save the Earth. :) Have a great day watchdogME. You should smile.

      • Anonymous

        I think watchdog is saying that even people who do not live in those towns still must subsidize the building of this school.  Of course that is true.  State monies as well as federal all go into the mix of funding for such a project. You may not agree with watchdogs comments but the dog has as much right to protest this use of tax money as anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Wait until the residents get their tax bills to maintain and run this Taj Mahal.

    • Anonymous

      From what I heard, the investments in geothermal, solar power technology, and other practical improvements (like motion sensitive lights, light wells, and slanted ceilings, as shown in the video) will actually make the new school run at about the same cost as the old 1843 building.  Have you been in the old school?  Have you seen how much wasted heat and electricity is generated there?

  • Anonymous

    There is no correlation, none, zero between the dollars spent on education and actual education received.

    • Anonymous

      Bingo sir!

    • Anonymous

      When did you go to school, in ’67 as your tag implies? As someone who graduated college recently, I can tell you there is a direct correlation between dollars spent and education received. Education has become more of a monetary commodity than ever before, and in order to get the best education and provide the necessary tools to provide such an education you have to pay for it, period. This attitude reflecting a lack of a need to invest tax money in education and scholastic tools and facilities will be why this country continues to fall behind, especially in math and science. Also, as a graduate of the old Hampden Academy, I can say that the majority of people in Hampden with children will not have a problem with the tax increase because they will see the return when their children arrive in that building. If you have a problem with it, maybe you should talk to your state representative. Here’s an inconvenient truth for all of these people clamoring about spending and the future of our children at the same time, in order to provide a bright future, you must invest in building that future.

      • Anonymous

        Nope, no correlation between dollars spent and education received.  This is a known fact.  Spending has exploded over the last 30 years and actual learning has not, at all, increased.  I know it feels good to spend more money, but it has no effect, at all.  I do agree the old school was a dump and needed to be replaced.  Think about this, for 50 million, you could have built 100 neighborhood schools at a half million each.

        • Anonymous

          You keep telling yourself that this is a known fact, must be nice living in a world of absolutes. With an increasing population and inflation, a defunct educational system and leaders, amongst many other factors, even if education and learning remained steady in quality, costs would increase drastically over 30 years. I’d really love to see the economics of the last part of your statement, better yet, what type of facility one receives for $500,000 these days.

          • Anonymous

             If you can build a large state of the art house for $500,000 you can build 100 small schools, with 4-6 classrooms each for the same 50 million.  Yes, it is true, it is a fact, that spending on education, per pupil has exploded over the last 30 years, wildly outstripping inflation, yet, it is a fact the quality of education, actual learning has not increased, at all, none, zero.  I know this doesn’t make people feel good, but it is the truth.

        • Anonymous

          If this is a known fact (the phrasing of which implies that just everybody knows this), you shouldn’t have trouble referring us to the research that concluded this known fact.

  • Anonymous

    For some reason this post ended up here rather than where I put it in response to another comment.

  • Anonymous

    Is it overdone? Yes. And people in Hampden still think this building isn’t sufficient. Some people don’t get the concept of a budget. In actuality, this project came in $2 million UNDER budget. Of course, if you had to go school at the old dump, you would realize that HA students have earned it. It’s been a long time coming, but we at Hampden Academy are very fortunate.

  • Anonymous

    Having read the posts here and noted the many misspellings:  “mote” and “monstrousity” and “rediculous”…well, maybe you should go back to school?

  • Alright, I myself am a student at Hampden Academy currently, I attended the old Academy building for 3 years, I have friends that are allergic to the mold and crap that’s in that school so they were always sick. Plus they’re other students out there with DISEASES that the crap in the school wasn’t helping at all. If you honestly think Hampden Academy didn’t deserve a new school, you’re seriously wrong. As for the security concerns go, I think it’s great. It’s perfect because if fights occur, they can easily see what happened. As for how far they went with the school, they built it to last 20+ years. It’s a GREEN school, it’s designed to SAVE money and not spend it on repairs and heating/electricity bills. Think before you write a comment.

    • Anonymous

      Trev, the new school is going to last a little longer than 20 years, but we get the point.

      This building is going to last 4-5 decades. Build it to national standards now, save a few bucks down the road.

      • Anonymous

        The new Hampden Academy has been built with a 70-year lifespan, and the rubberized roof alone is warranteed for 10-plus years.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe investing in Hampden Academy is a good plan.

    “Hampden Academy has been identified by the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) of University of Southern Maine as one of nine high schools in the State of Maine as both higher performing and efficient.  “Over the past two years, MEPRI has developed a set of metrics for identifying schools whose students are beating the odds by performing significantly better on state assessments than is predicted from student and community characteristics.” 

    Hampden Academy is the only high school north of Augusta to have this designation.  

  • Anonymous

     A great investement in the community and its future!  I am happy for the Hampden residents and their students to have such a unique opportunity.  Also, an educational philosophy such as Mr. Genest’s , “Education is lifelong” will do much to promote the benefits and potential of their investment to the entire community.  Hopefully, this educational approach will shine the light for the rest of our state to follow.

  • Anonymous

    My wife and I decided to move to this community 20 years ago because it is a community that values education.  I wanted the best for my kids.   This new facility will provide an opportunity to offer courses that will reach students that are not always engaged in education.   It won’t be long before the 3rd floor of this school will need to be developed into more classrooms.  We have built it, they will come. 

  • Guest

    a worse waste of money is having to pay for all the horrible schools in the state, where the education standards are much lower. people dont get the concept of long term investments. its a SCHOOL, not something to make a quick buck off of. 

Similar Articles