The oldest school building in Bangor is 100 years old, and the newest one is 45. They’re all in need of upgrades.
Over the next 10 years, Bangor’s public schools could be in for a $110 million makeover. After a decade, the school department might have decided to consolidate some schools and shut others down, affecting where future generations of Bangor students attend school.
A study of the school department’s facilities conducted by a Biddeford architectural firm earlier this year recommends two options for reconfiguring the city’s 10 school buildings as the buildings age and enrollment is projected to drop. Another option outlines the repairs and upgrades needed to keep the current buildings — seven elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school — functional.
“This is very much a baseline study,” Superintendent Betsy Webb said. Ultimately, the school department could adopt one of the recommendations made by the architectural firm Oak Point Associates, or it could come up with another, she said.
The cheapest option accounts only for recommended repairs and updates to the existing buildings, and the price tag would be $81 million, according to Oak Point.
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“Even if you don’t do anything new to your schools you have to invest $81 million over the years to keep what you have,” Webb said.
A variation on that option would be to repair and upgrade nine of the city’s schools and entirely rebuild Downeast School, which began its life as a community center in the Capehart neighborhood in 1959 and today serves 293 students in prekindergarten through grade three. Rebuilding Downeast would raise the price tag to $90 million.