Orono’s school board has added two projects to its list of school building upgrades that voters will likely decide on in June.
The addition of a security vestibule to the entrance of Orono High School and special education support spaces at the building shared by Orono Middle and High schools brings the approximate cost of upgrades and additions to $16.9 million.
That’s the near-final amount that the school department expects to send out to voters in June for their approval. Voters would decide whether to borrow that amount.
“We feel like it’s really close to being the exact scope and amount,” Superintendent Meredith Higgins said.
The board added the security vestibule and support space to the plans on Friday after a week of collecting feedback from school staff members and Orono residents on the proposed upgrades and additions. The school department held a community forum Thursday night on the proposed upgrade package.
The last two items added $300,000 to the final price tag.
“That amount in the grand scheme of a $16 million bond was not a substantial change,” Higgins said. “For what we are getting, it was worth the increase.”
The facilities update at Asa Adams Elementary School and the shared middle-high school building will also include a new auditorium, a new athletic field and track, new classrooms and support spaces and various necessary repairs to both school buildings.
In the first week of April, PDT Architects of Portland will finalize the cost and scope of the project. Throughout the month, the regional school unit board and administration will review the architects’ report and drawings, and the board is expected to approve the project on April 23.
The board would then start drafting the referendum for residents to vote on in June.
The school board will also meet with Orono Town Council to discuss the school budget and the facilities bond sometime in April. However, since Orono’s school system is a regional school unit, RSU 26, the board does not need the council’s approval to send the bond out to voters.