CSD accepts $2.5 million donation, hires Lavallee Brensinger

Fri, 08/27/2021 - 8:45am

    The Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District committee and board of trustees accepted $2.5 million in private donations Aug. 25. The unconditional funds are for phase two of a concept design presented Jan 27.

    The boards also authorized Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Robert Kahler to negotiate with Lavallee Brensinger Architects (LBPA) and third party consultants. The boards are requiring the Building Exploratory Committee (BEC) to submit contracts over $250,000 to them for approval. BEC members are CSD committee Chair Stephanie Hawke, member Ruth Macy, trustees Chair Steve Lorrain, trustee Kevin Anthony and Kahler. Kahler was elected chair; Macy, secretary.

    LBPA  K-12 Studio Leader Lance Whitehead and Project Manager Joe Britton III presented the BEC with project kickoff objectives and an alterable project timeline Whitehead said is neither aggressive nor lax, with the goal of a community vote in May 2023.

    “If any one of these steps takes us longer, we're not setting this calendar in stone. The reason we want to get a calendar like this out there is that community members often assume if they haven't heard anything, they're being left out of discussions and decisions have been made.”

    Phase two funding yields a nearly fully designed project with details like approximate energy consumption and how much of the project is renovation versus addition, said Whitehead. It also scopes out finer details like flooring type, insulation and cosmetics.

    The first steps of the project include educational planning and visioning, curriculum development, site investigations and permitting, an existing building review and community engagement throughout the project. Those steps come long before conceptual design which only starts once the board absorbs all the information and feels comfortable to start sketching solutions, said Whitehead.

    “Our first task is to get the information to work with visioning and education and to assess the buildings before we start conceptual design … (Then) our conceptual design studies will start with a blank sheet of paper to say what are the many different ways we can solve this problem and what are the impacts of that.”

    Lorrain and Macy said one of the most important pieces of information for voters will be an evaluation of both buildings and how much it would cost to maintain them for the caliber of education the community expects. Macy said the biggest concern in the community is that LBPA might try to sell the public on grand-scale changes.

    “That has to be the top piece of paper,” said Lorrain. “You can do all the site evaluations you want, but if that isn't sitting on top, you could make the vote May 2025 and you won’t get (anyone).”

    All options will be on the table, including additions and heavy and light renovations depending on the information gleaned, so community outreach will be important, Whitehead said.

    The BEC agreed subcommittees will be crucial for visioning and blueprinting the future of the campus, so they will seek board members, administrators, teachers, students, alumni and community members for subcommittees. Anyone interested in participating in or creating a subcommittee should contact Kahler at rkahler@aos98schools.org