2014-05-16 / Front Page

Numbers crunch begins

Community and Facilities Committee attempting to squeeze out renovations to three schools
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The district’s adherence to the $55 million total renovation cost of Mildred L. Day School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School and Kennebunk High School is proving to be precarious, and some would say, impossible.

Throughout the last few months, Harriman

Architecture + Engineers has worked with each building committee to distinguish structural renovations that must be made in each structure; anticipated costs were discussed at each meeting, but no specifics were determined.

The construction costs should be final by May 22, as was discussed at the May 8 Facilities Committee meeting. Once each committee is given hard costs, members will be able to finalize what is affordable and what is not.

“This is ugly, it’s not easy, but we have to start some place,” said Amy Johnson, chairman of the Consolidated School Building Committee, of the $4 million bar that the board of directors set for Consolidated — the figure that has been criticized the most for appearing unrealistically low when considering the numerous infrastructural improvements that need to be made.

“I just want to remind everyone where it (the figure of $4 million) came from,” said Tim Hussey, committee member. “It came from our master facilities plan that the board opted for. And this was derived from the Harriman study of what could we take to bring Consolidated up to an adequate level of space and updating our systems,” Hussey said.

“That’s really the work the committees have to struggle through here is to make those priority tradeoffs around scope and improvements and systems to see how we can come in at $4 million,” Hussey said.

Building committees for Mildred L. Day School and Consolidated School are scheduled to meet this week. The committee for the high school will meet Thursday, May 22, when the district anticipates receiving figures from Harriman.

Maureen King told the committee she had spent recent days examining the pro- posed floor plan for the high school, trying to figure out, “Is there something here that can get us to that point with a simplified building program. Maybe we need to back up (to previous plans), look at it again, and make some other choices.”

“I think the high school discussion is probably more similar to the Consolidated discussion than it is the Mildred Day discussion,” said Superintendent Andrew Dolloff. “You know, we’re not sure that for $42 million, you can do all that should be done to make that a safe, comfortable and durable facility for the next 30 years or so. The committee has some significant questions around that with Dan Cecil at Harriman.”

Dolloff reminded committee members, “The committee has a lot of options before it. You know, one option for them is to go back to the board or go back to this committee and say, ‘This is what you get for $42 million and we don’t endorse it,” Dolloff said.

“They are brutal choices. I mean, they really are,” said committee member John Sharood. “But, I mean if a multi-purpose room is much more important than a dedicated band room for the overall program of the school, that’s a logical choice to make, and I’m married to the band teacher. But those are the kind of tough choices that have to be made.”

Each committee is required to have a building renovation report ready for the Monday, July 7 board of directors meeting.

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