BATH, Maine — Voters will decide in November on a $5.2 million bond to fund improvements at several Regional School Unit 1 schools.
The RSU 1 Board of Directors on Monday placed the question on the Nov. 5 ballot.
A general, public meeting on the referendum is in the process of being planned, along with meetings in all five RSU 1 communities — Bath, Arrowsic, Phippsburg, West Bath and Woolwich — Superintendent of Schools Patrick Manuel said Tuesday.
The improvements are necessary to improve building safety and help prevent shutdowns, Manuel has said.
About $3.5 million of the bond would cover work at Morse High School. Another $833,000 would be spent at the elementary schools, $393,000 at Bath Middle School, $139,000 at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center. No work is proposed at the new Woolwich Central School, and $294,000 would be set aside for contingencies.
The improvements at Morse are aimed toward maintaining the building until state funding is available for a new high school, hopefully within 10 years, Manuel said, noting that Morse is 11th on the state funding list.
The superintendent has said the work is needed “for the safety of the building for staff and students, as well as (to) prevent a catastrophic shutdown of the building.”
Morse’s issues include its windows, which have in some cases been falling in or not correctly secured. Water has also been penetrating the gaps around those windows. Other improvements include replacement of the building’s ventilation system, and electrical upgrades.
Science lab upgrades are also proposed. In a recent accreditation, the only area where Morse was faulted was its facilities, particularly the science labs, Manuel said.