Building a new athletic complex on land located on the Griffin Road was included among three options for an infrastructure makeover of Bangor schools drawn up by a Biddeford-based architecture firm.
All three options, presented to the Bangor School Committee last Wednesday, included school building upgrades or consolidations. Another of the proposals recommended maintaining the status quo with the athletic facilities.
Oak Point Associates made a one-hour presentation to the school committee according to Al Kochis, the director of business services for the Bangor School Department.
Bangor Superintendent of School Betsy Webb said the firm was hired to review Bangor’s school facilities.
“Some of our schools are 50 to 100 years old,” Webb said. “We just wanted our schools and facilities to be assessed so we can move forward. We have aging facilities and we need a plan for how to manage [and improve] our facilities to best meet the needs of learning and teaching.
Webb said there was no discussion about how many lanes a potential new track would have nor whether a new playing field might include artificial turf.
Bangor in 2010 announced a campaign to raise $7 million for improvements to the football field and six-lane track at Cameron Stadium, located behind William S. Cohen Middle School on Garland St.
In 2013, the renovated grandstand was completed after work had already been done on the locker rooms beneath it. That ended the first $1.65 million phase of the overall project and it was financed through a $1.2 million bond approved by the Bangor City Council in concert with the Cameron Stadium contingency fund and money raised by The Friends of Cameron Stadium nonprofit group.
No significant large-scale work involving the previously planned artificial turf field has been done since. Unlike several Maine communities including Hampden, Bangor does not have an artificial turf field.
“I will always be open to any kind of support that gives our students better opportunities whether it be in athletics, math [or anything else],” Webb said.
She indicated that if Bangor is to eventually install an eight-lane track to replace the aging six-lane track around the football field at Cameron Stadium and add an artificial turf facility for football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, it will have to come from private funds.
Webb said the options presented by Oak Point Associates are part of a 10-year plan, and more studies will need to be done before any decisions are made about changes to schools or other facilities.
The school committee won’t discuss the presented options until January, she said, and whichever option is eventually approved is several years down the road.
Webb said Bangor could apply to the state for funding for school improvements, for which it would be placed on a waiting list, but not for the construction of new athletic facilities.
All football teams from Bangor High School down through the youth level play at Cameron Stadium, which was built in 1944. The Rams’ varsity and junior varsity soccer teams have their own field at the high school.
The soccer field is also used occasionally in the spring by the boys and girls lacrosse teams, who play many of their games on the artificial surface at Husson University’s Boucher Field.
The addition of an eight-lane track and an artificial turf field and stadium would enable Bangor to host Maine Principals’ Association championship competitions and other youth activities.