Update from the Superintendent - February 8, 2024

At the February 5 Board meeting, a concept design for an on-campus PK-1 primary school was presented by architect Stephen Blatt, who was hired to develop a separate design as a possible alternative to the off-site plan at 80 Gray Road in North Yarmouth. You can view both the recorded presentation and the slide deck, which includes visuals of the design, at the School Project webpage link: https://www.msad51.org/apps/pages/building_project. This concept design is simply an abstract of the site location, major program spaces, and other spatial design features. The details of a new school building design would not be completed pending a successful referendum, but it nonetheless provides a rough view of what the school would look like.

The proposed concept design would have a capacity of 500 students with expandability to 600 students if future conditions warrant it. The project includes necessary improvements to sustain a fourth school facility on the campus, such as altering roads to improve traffic patterns, expanded parking, and adding turn lanes on Main Street and Tuttle Road. Additionally, this plan calls for the demolition and rebuilding of the maintenance building elsewhere on the campus, upgrades to Mabel I. Wilson School to support a grade span for grades 2-4 there, and an artificial turf field to increase student access to play space given the reduction of open space on campus with a new school facility. Expansion points have been identified by the architect at the new school, MIW, and GMS if enrollment exceeds projections beyond 2033.


The estimated project total for all the components described above is not expected to exceed $50 million, far less than the $74 million price tag at 80 Gray Road, partly because infrastructure is already in place to support another school building on campus. Operational costs are expected to be lower with this plan, given the ability to share staff on one campus while reducing transportation costs in maintaining the one campus model. This plan also consolidates safety planning and provides greater convenience for parent pick up and drop off at one location in the community. The Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on March 18 whether to move ahead with an on-campus school, continue with the 80 Gray Road project, or consider a different direction. The Board will meet with the Cumberland Town Council and North Yarmouth Select Board on February 13 to jointly discuss the school project status.


new school plan
Architectural rendering of site location for new PK-1 school on the existing campus.