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

Crooker Construction Grants District an Easement

posted Sep 1, 2017, 11:36 AM by Ryan Palmer

We are pleased to announce that Crooker Construction, LLC has granted MSAD No.75 an easement for a 25 foot vegetative buffer running from the District's Transportation Garage to Canam Drive, parallel to route 201, for the new MTA High School.  The easement allows for the current trees to remain in place except in the case fire or disease removal.  This visual barrier will help maintain the emphasis of a natural environment.The District plans to install a fence along the easement as a way to prevent MSAD #75 students from walking through the adjacent cement plant. Crooker is committed to being a partner in the MTA High School Project. We are grateful to the easement provided by Tom Sturgeon of Crooker Construction LLC.

View Beginning Construction of Baseball and Practice Fields

posted Aug 25, 2017, 9:11 AM by Ryan Palmer

Bid Awarded for Early Site Work on Mt. Ararat Athletic Fields

posted Aug 14, 2017, 6:01 AM by Ryan Palmer

On July 20, 2017, bids were opened for the contract work to be done on the new Mt. Ararat High School baseball and practice fields adjacent to the Mt. Ararat Middle School field.  A base bid and three alternates had been requested. Of the four bids offered, the project was awarded to the bidder with the lowest overall bid. On August 3, 2017, the M.S.A.D. No. 75 School Board unanimously approved the contract with Crooker Construction LLC for both the base bid of $568,877 and Alternate #1 Sewer Replacement for $83,295, for a total contract price of $652,172. 
Crooker Construction has begun work with hopes of completing the field by mid-November!  The field will then be allowed to grow and stabilize for a year prior to it being used. Because the new fields are a construction zone, we remind everyone that for safety reasons visitors are not allowed on the premises.

The former military housing up Canam Drive was recently purchased by Patriot Brunswick Holdings LLC.  That housing project utilizes a private sewer line that runs under the property being developed for the athletic fields.  A multi-organization effort including the Town of Topsham, Topsham Sewer District, M.S.A.D. No. 75, and Patriot Brunswick Holdings LLC resulted in an agreement to replace the aged sewer line now.  We want to acknowledge and thank all of those involved for the efforts to address this critical issue, in particular, Patriot Brunswick Holdings which will be paying the cost of the new sewer line, enabling us to move forward without jeopardizing the current line.  By reaching this agreement, it has ensured that M.S.A.D. No. 75 will not have to incur changes to the original design that may have increased the cost to the School District and potentially delayed the project.  Patriot Brunswick Holdings very much wants to work with the Town, the School Board and neighbors to find out what the needs are as they relate to housing. They also plan to be in this community for years to come so would like to make a positive impact on the town.

Construction Financing Reimburses Early Project Costs (By MSAD #75 Business Manager Mark Conrad)

posted Jul 24, 2017, 8:44 AM by Ryan Palmer

Over the last two fiscal years the District’s operating budget has included a total of $550,000 to provide initial funding to plan for a new high school, establish a project budget, and bring it forward to the voters at referendum.  With the approval of the project by the voters at the March 7, 2017 referendum the District can now move in obtaining the financing necessary to pay for the costs of construction.

As a first step in this process the District has now received a “bond anticipation note” which included funds to reimburse the District for the initial $550,000 budgeted through the recent annual operating budgets.  Those funds will now be available over time to fund District programs and services and/or minimize future increases in tax assessments to our four towns.

In the spring of 2019 the District will be able to issue a twenty-year bond for the full cost of the project.  The annual cost of debt service (principal and interest payments) on the bond will be supported with both state and local funds, but will not have an impact on the District’s operating budget for another two years. 

Early Site Work to Begin on MTA Athletic Fields

posted Jul 5, 2017, 5:06 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Jul 18, 2017, 11:00 AM ]

On June 6, 2017 the Topsham Planning Board approved the development of the athletic practice field and the baseball field to be located on the newly acquired land adjacent to Mt. Ararat Middle School.  The bidding process will open on July 11, 2017 with an anticipated start date for construction of July 18, 2017. The new fields will be completed in November of 2017 and will be ready for use in the spring of 2019.

The District is also in the process of working with the Maine Arts Commission to create a Selection Committee. The Selection Committee will determine how the monies for art in the new building will be invested. The MTA Building Project has budged $50,000 for artwork to be included in the new building. The District will be looking for two representatives to serve on this committee. Qualified individuals can contact the District Office to inquire about the application process. Read more about Percent for Art HERE.

In addition to art for the new high school, the Student Advisory Committee has suggested a list of items from the old high school that would be moved to the new high school.  Items under consideration include the eagle statue in the lobby, the maps in the commons, various murals, clocks, trophies and awards. 

In addition to the update above, the following contains further information discussed at the Communications subcommittee meeting:


The Committee noted a need to recognize the new developer’s agreement to replace the new sewer line at the time of the field construction.  In addition, the District will recognize the easement from Crooker.  Brad will do a press release or article to recognize these contributions from our fellow community members.

For a future update the Committee will announce the Commissioning Agent once the firm has been chosen.

The Committee also discussed the need to begin taking photos of the construction site to post on the website.  Ryan noted that the District has a drone that can also be used to document changes through the construction process.

Signs of Construction for the New Mt. Ararat High School are “Springing” Up:

posted May 16, 2017, 6:14 AM by Ryan Palmer   [ updated Jun 13, 2017, 11:35 AM ]

Anyone driving through the Mt. Ararat High School campus will notice activities signaling the beginning stages of construction for the new facility.  Landscape architects marked a number of trees with ribbons so their surveyors can digitally locate these trees as a key piece of information as the construction plan develops.  In addition, the footprint of the new facility is being marked.  Soil testing for construction and geo-thermal planning are also underway.  Major impacts to the campus like changes to the access road, parking lots and current baseball field are planned for the spring of 2018. As construction plans develop, impacts to the current campus will be communicated to the community.

Superintendent Smith along with PDT Architects will be going to the Topsham Planning Board on May 16, 2017 for approval to begin development of the athletic practice fields and the baseball field to be located on the newly acquired land adjacent to Mt. Ararat Middle School.  Superintendent Smith continues to work with town officials and property owners regarding the sewer line that runs through the property.

The Learning Commons and Technology Sub-Committee will meet on May 9, 2017 for the purpose of meeting with a technology consultant from CDA Consulting who will assist in creating a plan for technology in the new school.  Several Committee members have been doing site visits to learning commons (formally termed as libraries) at Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT), Bowdoin College and Thornton Academy to view technology, maker spaces, and furniture design. To view an example of a newly constructed learning commons at WIT please visit https://www.facebook.com/wentworthadmissions/posts/10158549842400024.

PDT has engaged an interior design coordinator who has been meeting with the high school staff about space and furnishing requirements for different learning environments.   To date meetings have been held to discuss the administrative offices, the health clinic, art classrooms, and special education spaces. The interior design coordinator will continue to meet with staff until the end of the school year.

The Building Systems and Sustainability Sub-Committee will be seeking School Board approval to begin RFPs for screening and hiring a commissioning agent. The commissioning agent's responsibilities will primarily be to review mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems before the start-up of the new high school.

The Naming Rights and Fundraising Sub-Committee has been meeting regularly to lay out fundraising strategies and to begin donor outreach. Because of the timing of construction and the impact it will have on the baseball field in June of 2018, the Naming Rights and Fundraising Sub-Committee is initially focusing on determining fundraising costs associated with the new baseball athletic field.  Dugouts, fencing, bleachers and a scoreboard are all costs associated with the new baseball field and are outlined in the fundraising plan for the new high school.

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