Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District Board of Trustees accepted bids for roof work and a new generator for Boothbay Region Elementary School July 1. Brewer-based Williams Construction will do the roof work for $36,390 and Travers Electric of Skowhegan will install the generator and provide a three-year service contract for $116,285. Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 Facilities and Transportation Director David Benner was rehired for $75,484 through the 2021-2022 school year.
Benner said Travers will also install wiring and a new panel box for the generator which will bring the setup from 800 amps to 400 amps. “This will do the whole building. It’s kind of exciting from a facilities maintenance aspect.”
The board was also set to vote on paving projects which focus on the school entrance and sidewalks; however, Benner reported he had received no bids. The CSD has set aside around $113,000 to finish the two sections which are among five that need work. Estimates for all work top $350,000.
Superintendent Keith Laser said the methods all AOS 98 schools will be using to deal with COVID-19 in the fall will most likely look different. He also said that, like in many Maine school districts, he and the schools’ administrations still do not know what instruction will look like. “We have to plan for anything and if we’re going to go back to (remote learning), we can’t be static … We have a duty to educate kids.”
Laser said regular Zoom meetings with Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, Deputy Commissioner Dan Chuhta and other superintendents are still leaving districts on edge because no one is sure what precautions will be needed.
“We only have six weeks to get our act together. Then you throw in the issues with folks who have concerns about being back in school. That’s going to be challenging as anything. We have older faculty with who knows what preexisting conditions. We see attorney bills being very, very high through all of this. There’s going to be OSHA, unions, the state. There’s going to be a lot to consider.”
Laser and Benner spoke to a Honeywell engineer on air quality in the schools. They found out BRES’s eight filter systems and BRHS’s six have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 6, which can catch dust, lint and pollen. The engineer recommended systems with MERV 13 filtration and bi-polar ionization – which covers virus, bacteria, mold, smoke and dander.
Benner said his best estimate would be around $200,000 which could be mostly freed up by putting off the roof work and sidewalk paving for a year. Laser and the board agreed it would be worth considering once paving bids come in, but such an expensive project would not likely fit in with all the other work the schools need. Said Laser, “There’s money, but not a lot of money … I don’t think we’re in a position this year to do that.”