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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the cost of the project?

The State of Maine has approved a total construction budget of $60,704,671. The table below identifies the sources of funding for the Project. The District will assume responsibility for a bond with principal and interest payments over 20 years. The largest portion of the Project to be bonded—$53,486,792—qualifies for state sup- port with a local match under Maines school funding formula. A smaller portion of the bond— $6,857,347—reflects construction costs that must be funded at the local level without state support. 

How will my taxes be impacted?

The District will assume responsibility for a bond with principal and interest payments over 20 years. The largest portion of the Project to be bonded—$53,486,792—qualifies for state support with a local match under Maines school funding formula. A smaller portion of the bond— $6,857,347—reflects construction costs that must be funded at the local level without state support. three towns, the town of Harpswell will have to pay a por on of the cost, currently estimated at $274,000, with the State funding costs above that level. A Harpswell homeowner with a home locally assessed at $425,000 will therefore see an annual property tax increase of about $65 to pay for the additional cost of the Project. 

 

When will the project go to referendum?

March 7, 2017 

Will my student athlete have no home games during construction?

Yes and No.  It depends upon the sport.

 

During the initial planning of the project, the Building Committee heard feedback from local community members at a variety of meetings, including a public forum held in each town.  It was clear that allowing students to remain in the present building throughout construction was highly important, and that students’ education not be impacted by being housed in temporary buildings. 

 

As a result, the new school will be built on the current competition field/track.  Those sports that currently utilize those facilities will be impacted. Plans are being developed to minimize that impact where possible.  Sports that do not use those facilities, will not be impacted, and will continue to have practice and games as they do currently.

 

Where will student athletes practice and have games during construction?

As indicated above, it depends upon the sport.  As plans are developed, they will posted on the high school website at http://mta.link75.org

 

What are the plans for keeping or not keeping the current gym?

The current gymnasium will remain during construction, but will then be demolished to provide room for the new athletic fields and track, along with parking.  While the Building Committee initially considered the advantage of keeping the gym, the cost to update it and improve systems to operate it as a “stand alone” building were prohibitive.  Instead, the Building Committee and School Board determined that adding additional gym space in the new school would be more economical and advantageous. 

 

How is the size of the new high school determined?

The State uses a formula based upon projected student enrollment and square foot allocation.  We are currently utilizing a figure of 750 students and 187 square feet per student.  We anticipate the Department of Education will fund approximately 140,310 square feet.  Any additional space will be a “local only” option.  Our current design is at 140,338 square feet.  For comparison purposes, our current high school is 156,500 square feet and serves 740 students.

 

Will the new high school accommodate an increase in student enrollment?

The model used by the Department of Education is based upon classrooms being occupied 85% of the time, noting there are times when classrooms are not occupied by students due to lunch or study halls, or attendance in other areas such as music, art, PE, etc.  The Department of Education model therefore does not provide for a classroom for each teacher, but if shared classrooms are used, some growth in enrollment could be accommodated.

It should be noted that the Building Committee is currently considering the advantages and costs of providing a classroom for each teacher.  Doing so would allow for much greater increase in student enrollment, and greater flexibility in the use of space.

 

How will shared classrooms for teachers work?

The shared classroom model (sometimes referred to as a “collegiate model”) means that each teacher would not have his/her own classroom.  Teachers would rotate to various classrooms that are available due to lunch or planning periods.  Some programs, such as art, music, band, and science would have their own rooms. 

 

If teachers share classrooms, where will advisory take place?

Advisory is a program where a small number of students (10-12) are assigned to an individual teacher. “Advisory class” meets daily.  Connections, important interactions and lessons take place in Advisory.  In a shared classroom model, many Advisory classes would be held in non-classroom areas.

 

If teachers share classrooms, where will teachers meet privately with students?

If it is determined to use a shared classroom model, teachers would be provided with faculty areas for desks, files, closets and conference rooms nearby.  Those spaces could be used for individual meetings with students as well as conference rooms and seminar rooms..

 

In the new high school, where would graduation take place?

Mt. Ararat has a long tradition of holding graduation outside, at the competition field, if weather allows.  During inclement weather, graduation has been held in the gymnasium.  Outside graduation allows more guests to attend, and is better acoustically.  In the new school, we have gym space comparable to our current gymnasium.  Technology could also be used for indoor graduation that could broadcast the ceremony to other areas in the school, such as the forum (small auditorium) or dining commons.

How can I provide input about the design of the new high school?

We encourage input from community members regarding the project.  In the past, community members have had many opportunities to express opinions at meetings specifically designed to gather input, including Public Forums held in each town last fall, the first Straw Poll held January 21, 2016, and Public Forums held in the summer and fall of 2016.  In addition, Building Committee meetings and subcommittee meetings are open to the public and provide a designated time for comment.  Those meeting schedules can be found on the project website at http://construction.link75.org/ which also includes a place to provide comments.  The public is invited to follow the project via Twitter, Facebook, or through Remind, all of which provide notification whenever updates are posted to the website.  To learn about any upcoming forums or meetings, please visit the construction website at http://construction.link75.org/.