CSD Building Committee shifts toward public engagement

Wed, 08/23/2023 - 8:45am

    The Building Exploratory Committee is refocusing its mission toward educating voters on the $89 million Community School District project. The group met Aug. 21 to discuss ways to help share information about the project and connect with Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor residents before the November referendum to fund it.  

    “One thing that has struck me is, whether people are for or against this project or what was recommended, is the strongly expressed desire to maintain what makes these communities so special,” said Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Superintendent Rober Kahler. “I'm convinced that everybody, our elected officials, volunteers, staff and the citizens of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor, will find a way forward while preserving what people hold most dear about these communities.” 

    As reported in the Register, the BEC recommended a referendum question on funding the project to renovate the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District campus. It was the group’s final recommendation to both the CSD School Board and Board of Trustees on the project.   

    Now that their core mission is complete, members wanted to shift to sharing information and supporting the newly formed communications group for the project. To help make the transition clear, they approved removing “exploratory” from the group’s name because they are no longer exploring other building options.  

    “From this point forward, our meetings will primarily be workshops and will be focused on communicating how this project enhances our students’ education and continues to provide value to our communities,” Kahler said.  

    During the meeting, the renamed “Building Committee” talked with the project architect, school administrators, and members of the communications group about a communications plan. They discussed how to share information on the benefits of the school’s design for areas including education, safety and sustainability. In addition, the group talked about educating voters on the costs surrounding the project and how those may affect the communities.  

    The plan will involve distributing mailers, flyers and other materials to voters and creating digital resources. Committee members said the materials are meant to educate residents on the project and hopefully encourage discourse, including participation in several public forums. 

    “These are real focused messages that invite people to discussions later on,” said project architect Joe Britton.  

    According to the project timeline, outreach will begin in the coming weeks and public forums will be held as early as September, both in person and online. The group also discussed plans to attend the Set for Success event Aug. 31 at Boothbay Region Elementary School, including bringing a 3D walkthrough model of the proposed building project.