Half of Bangor’s schools have no electric generators that can kick in when the electricity is out. But that could change in the coming months.
The Bangor School Committee last week unanimously approved a contract with a Hermon company to build and install generators in the five schools that don’t have the ability to power their own buildings when the power goes out.
Just one more vote is needed before the contract becomes final. The Bangor City Council will vote next month on setting aside $600,000 for the generators from a capital reserve fund.
If the council approves the spending, five of the city’s elementary schools — Fruit Street, Vine Street, Fourteenth Street, Abraham Lincoln and Fairmount schools — will gain custom-built generators with enough capacity to power the entire building.
The building and installation will take 12 to 15 weeks, Bangor schools Superintendent Betsy Webb said.
The need for all schools to have generators became evident after some Bangor schools went without power for multiple days during the October 2017 wind storm that toppled trees and power lines throughout much of the state, according to Webb.
“From what we’ve seen with the weather patterns, it’s pretty clear that we need this capacity in all of our schools,” she said.
Hermon-based Carmel Electric, which has worked with the Bangor School Department before, was the lowest of six bidders for the generator job, with a bid of $562,200.
The school department is proposing to set aside the larger amount in case of unanticipated expenses, Webb said. The reserve fund that will pay for the generators was formed a few years ago when Bangor schools received a late addition to their amount of state school aid.