Want To Talk About What Might Happen With The School?

Conners-Emerson third community forum is Wednesday night

BAR HARBOR—Conners Emerson’s third community forum about the future of the school’s buildings happens Wednesday night from 5 to 6:30 both in person at the Conners Emerson Cafeteria and via Zoom. Everyone is invited to the discussion.

The project design statement created at the second community forum from community feedback reads,  “A WELCOMING LEARNING ENVIRONMENT THAT CREATES CONNECTIONS FOR EVERY STUDENT, EVERY DAY TO SELF, PLACE, AND COMMUNITY.”

Despite the high-caliber and ranking of the school’s student’s and staff, the school building was built more than half a century ago and it hasn’t aged well. It has cracks in the foundation, water infiltration, broken boilers, bad roofs, a lack of space and security for its approximately 300 students. The library had to close last week because of air quality issues.

Last Tuesday, representatives from the project’s committee and Lisa Sawin from Harrimans, a Maine architectural firm, presented the project in its initial phases to the Bar Harbor Town Council. The potential price tag is $70 million, including approximately $50 million for the actual construction. The other costs relate to fees, furnishings, technology, and engineering. Every year the project is postponed, Sawin said, could add another $6 million to the cost.

If erected at that cost, with a 20-year, $70 million bond, there would be a $1,000 increase in property taxes for a median-priced home. This is a separate piece than the annual school budget that voters approve each year. Municipal bonds are debt security and states and towns and county governments use them to pay for large-ticket construction items such as a school or a bridge or infrastructure. They work in a way that is similar to loans, only the creditors are those who hold the bonds.

School System Superintendent Mike Zboray and other project committee members said that the design and price was the starting point in the discussion and now that there is an amount for a rebuild vs a remodel, people can work to revise it and fundraise toward it. The current financial analysis shows a remodel being just $2 million less than a rebuild.  

Images via school building presentation from Lisa Sawin and school’s website, linked below.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

The website, click here.

For our last article about the cost and structural issues, including photos and more information click here.

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