District Begins Taking Bids for the MTA High School Project

posted Apr 13, 2018, 4:40 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Apr 13, 2018, 4:51 AM ]

On April 11, 2018, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the Design and Funding of our new high school!  That puts us in position to put the project out to bid April 13, 2018, when the District will begin taking bids for the MTA High School Project. The State DOE approved five general contractors as pre-qualified bidders for the MTA High School Project on February 21, 2018. 

All 5 of the firms have had previous experience building schools:
• Arthur C. Dudley Contractor/Builder
• Harvey Construction
• Ledgewood Construction
• PC Construction
• Wright-Ryan Construction

The bids will be opened on May 17, 2018 and a contract awarded to the lowest qualified bidder. Work can begin after May 17, 2018.

Clerk of the Works Selected for MTAHS Project:

posted Apr 5, 2018, 12:49 PM by Ryan Palmer

Clerk of the Works Has Been Selected for the MTA High School Project:

The Clerk of the Works is an agent for the architect hired to insure the building is being constructed according the architect’s designs and drawings. The Clerk of the Works is the only individual who has authority to halt construction should there be concerns.  Holbrook (Brook) Plummer has been selected as the Clerk of the Works for the MTA High School Project.

Percent for Art Selection Process Under Way

posted Apr 2, 2018, 5:38 AM by Ryan Palmer

The Mt. Ararat construction project is participating in the Percent for Art program, which provides funding for artwork for public buildings in Maine, including schools.  The artwork commissioned takes many forms - traditional sculpture, abstract wall-mounted works, projects that integrate art throughout the building, and more! This program is overseen by the Maine Arts Commission. 

A Mt. Ararat Percent for Art Committee has been formed and the selection process is now underway.  The Committee will oversee the selection of art work for the new High School, and includes the following members:
Sarah Cowperthwaite, High School art teacher, MSAD No. 75
Maura McHugh, Middle School art teacher, MSAD No. 75
Pam Anderson, Architect with PDT Architects
Andrea Sulzer, Artist
Ellen Tani, Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, Bowdoin College Museum of Art

A call has gone out to all Maine artists to submit proposals by April 10th.  The Committee will then select a limited number of finalists to provide more detailed proposals later in the spring.  The Committee may select one artists or several artists to provide art work within the $50,000 that has been set aside in the construction budget for this purpose.  Areas in which art work may be installed include the grounds by the main entrance, the entrance near the gymnasium, the exterior walls of the forum, the landscape looking out toward the pond from the Learning Commons, different areas within the main atrium, and the stairwell by the Learning Commons.
Stay tuned for exciting developments in the Percent for Art Program!

Building Project Gains DEP Approval

posted Mar 7, 2018, 5:51 AM by Ryan Palmer

On February 9, 2018, M.S.A.D. No.75 received approval of its application to the Department of Environmental Protection.  DEP approval is significant in that it is required by the Town of Topsham Planning Board, the Town Building Permit and the State Board of Education.

The DEP approval considers many environmental impacts and factors including technical ability, noise, scenic character, wildlife and fisheries, historic sites, soils, storm water management, groundwater supply, wastewater and solid disposal, flood potential, water quality and wetland areas.

With DEP approval, the project moves forward as the District prepares to put the project to bid in early April.  Construction is slated to begin June of 2018.

Building a Quality School

posted Mar 7, 2018, 5:32 AM by Ryan Palmer

Building a quality high school is important to the Board of Directors and the Building Committee.  One important aspect of quality is assuring the different building systems perform according to their design.  These systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, electrical, life-safety, and security.  Another impact aspect of quality is assuring the different elements of the building envelope (walls, doors, windows, etc.) are installed correctly to keep the building dry and energy-efficient.  The process of testing and verifying that all of these systems work as designed is known as “commissioning.”

In September 2017 the Board of Directors took an important step forward in accepting the recommendation from the Building Committee to hire the engineering firm of Rist-Frost-Shumway (RFS) Engineering of Laconia, New Hampshire to serve as an independent, third-party commissioning agent for the high school construction project.  Their selection followed a competitive process overseen by the Sustainability and Building Systems Committee, who publicly solicited proposals and interviewed different firms.  RFS Engineering is experienced in serving as both the design engineer and commissioning agent for schools throughout New England.

The total cost of commissioning services is $192,920.  The construction budget includes additional local funds to support a more robust scope of commissioning work, including RFS engineers conducting third party reviews of the engineering drawings and specifications during the design development process, and conducting additional testing of the building envelope.

Topsham Planning Board Gives Final Approval

posted Dec 23, 2017, 5:31 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Dec 23, 2017, 5:33 AM ]

The Topsham Planning Board gave final approval to the plans for a new Mt. Ararat High School. This approval will allow the architect to focus their efforts on completing the current construction drawings that are being developed.

“This is really good news for our project” said Superintendent Brad Smith. “There have been many meetings between town officials, the architect and school district. I believe this show the level of responsiveness the architect has provided to suggestions or questions from the town during this process. We are grateful to the town officials for the communication and collaboration that continues to take place with this project!”

Construction documents are the drawings and specifications for the building. These documents are used by the contractor for actual construction of the facility and grounds. We anticipate those documents to be finished by the end of February.

We will then take the project for the third of four approvals to the State Board of Education, set for March 14, 2018.

Upon approval by the State Board of Education, the specifications will go out to bid for approximately six weeks on March 21, with work to begin immediately after school ends this June. The building is slated to open in the fall of 2020.


Provided by:

Brad Smith

Superintendent of Schools

MSAD No. 75 Dec. 22, 2017

A Preview of Learning Commons at the New MTA

posted Nov 8, 2017, 8:58 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Nov 8, 2017, 8:59 AM ]

The video below is a preview of what the Learning Commons at the New MTA will look like and include. This is getting exciting!


District Appointees Approved to Serve on Percent for Art Committee for New MTA High School:

posted Oct 16, 2017, 10:30 AM by Ryan Palmer

Maura McHugh and Sarah Cowperthwaite were approved by the MSAD #75 School Board as District representatives to serve on the Percent for Art Sub-Committee.

The Percent for Art program is a part of the High School construction project. The program reserves money from the construction fund to provide artwork for public areas of the building or exterior.  The artwork commissioned for this takes many forms - traditional sculpture, abstract wall-mounted works, projects that integrate art throughout the building, and more! This program is operated by the Maine Arts Commission.

Essentially, a selection committee will review proposals from artists; and the School District is allowed to select two representatives to serve on the committee.  The Maine Arts Commission will select two others, and the architect participates as well. The Building Committee determined that the two District representatives would be selected from District-wide staff...not limited to the high school, or to teachers, but to any employees who might be interested in serving on this committee.

The selection committee is required to attend three meetings that last approximately three hours each over the entire process (seven or more months). Committee members will be expected to review proposals outside of formal meeting times. The committee is generally given four weeks to read and score proposals. Once the committee has decided on which artist's artwork is chosen, then their work is complete!   

The District congratulates and thanks Maura McHugh and Sarah Cowperthwaite for their service.

PDT Presents to the School Board

posted Sep 19, 2017, 12:12 PM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Sep 19, 2017, 12:18 PM ]

PDT made a presentation to the M.S.A.D. #75 School about the new high school project at the September 14, 2017 meeting. You can view this portion of the meeting in the video embedded below. Thank you to Harpswell TV for recording the meeting and making it available to this website.  View the entire meeting at: https://vimeo.com/234384532

School Board Approves Commissioning Agent

posted Sep 19, 2017, 7:15 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Sep 19, 2017, 12:29 PM ]

On September 14, 2017, the MSAD #75 School Board approved the recommendation of the Building Committee to hire Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering of Laconia, NH as the commissioning agent for the new High School Construction Project, based on the scope of services set forth by the Building Committee, at an initial cost of $192,740. View the portion of the School Board meeting where the position of Commissioning Agent is described and voted on by view the video embedded below. Thank you to Harpswell TV for recording the meeting and making it available to this website.  View the entire meeting at: https://vimeo.com/234384532


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