BREWER, Maine — Brewer High School, which was built in 1958, will soon undergo its eighth face-lift. This time the project includes a new exit connecting the school property to Acme Road.
“The proposed new exit from the high school would be from the northwesterly corner of the building to Acme Road, through the access drive to the existing city parking lot off Acme Road,” City Planner Linda Johns said Thursday in an email.
Residents approved a $5.4 million interest-free bond by referendum last year to renovate the school campus to add efficiencies and security. The new bus route is designed to create efficiencies with traffic, and modifying the front of Brewer High into one main entrance is to improve safety.
The project also includes adding a 100-seat lecture hall where the principal’s office now sits, moving administrative offices, and improving the capacity and look of the cafeteria.
The new exit, which provides access to the city owned parking lot at the end of Acme Road, went before the Brewer Planning Board on June 3 and gained approval, Johns said.
The cost to renovate the high school for Brewer taxpayers will feel essentially flat because payments for the improvements don’t start until the other debt is retired in 2016, Gretchen Gardner, the school department’s business manager explained.
Brewer was awarded a $5.4 million Quality School Construction bond for the high school last year through the Maine Department of Education, which also awarded money to Portland.
The school board learned in February that Brewer has been awarded a second $2.7 million Quality School Construction bond that can be used to improve classrooms and technology, Superintendent Daniel Lee said at the February school board meeting.
Residents still need to approve accepting the phase two money, and a fall referendum is planned. If Brewer doesn’t accept the money, it will be awarded to another school district, Lee has said.
The phase one work is scheduled to start shortly and is expected be completed in the spring of 2014. Principal David Wall worked with an administrative team to create a contingency plan for students and staff while the project is underway, to minimize disruptions.