Site Recommended for New Elementary School in Lewiston

Aug 17, 2015.

After six months of intensive work, the Site Selection Committee will be recommending that the new elementary school be built in Franklin Pasture. This new school will combine the present Martel Elementary School and Longley Elementary School. The unanimous recommendation will be presented to the Lewiston School Committee at its 6:45 pm meeting on Monday, August 17, 2015. Because of the public interest in this decision, the meeting will take place in City Council chambers at City Hall and will be televised.

If the site is supported by the School Committee, a formal site application will be submitted to the Department of Education. The process will include a public presentation and straw poll in October and needed approval by the Maine State Board of Education as early as November. The tentative project schedule
includes public referendum vote in June 2016 and
construction completion by the summer of 2019.

Seventeen (17) sites in or adjacent to the existing Martel and Longley school districts were considered by the Site Selection Committee. Sites were assessed against multiple criteria provided by the Department of Education. Discussions were held with owners of the higher ranked sites on availability and cost, and environmental assessments were conducted on the top
available sites. Two sites rose to the top of the list: Franklin Pasture and a parcel on old Lisbon Road, approximately 3 miles from the existing Martel School. Identified advantages to the Franklin Pasture site included proximity to the existing two schools and the majority of the student population, the expectation of no additional transportation costs and proximity to community partners and Lewiston High School to increase options for educational programming.

If approved, the new elementary school will be located on the existing main Franklin Pasture Sports Complex, near Lewiston High School. This option is available because the State-funded project will fully cover the cost of relocating the existing playing fields as shown on the concept plan. This solution is similar to an earlier school construction project in Falmouth where the State covered the cost of relocating the high school fields. The opportunity to relocate the playing fields comes at a time where the campaign to raise funds to upgrade Franklin Pasture had slowed, and the expectation is that the State-funded relocation when combined with funds already raised will result in a superior main stadium with an allweather field immediately behind Lewiston High School. The track can be separated from the main field and relocated to the existing softball field with a practice field in the interior. The combined baseball-field hockey field can be placed in Marcotte Park. The tentative plan is to use local funds to purchase Drouin Field from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for the relocated softball and practice field.

We are in discussions with the Diocese. If the site selection is approved, the next phase of the project will include building design. The project will be fully state-funded except for any additional features that may be added locally to the project. Geiger Elementary School was approximately 95% state-funded and 5% locally funded because of the purchase of additional land and a larger gym than the State supports. The exact amount of state and local funding for this project will be determined during the next phase.

The 18-member Site Selection Committee was chaired by School Committee member Tom Shannon and included School Committee member Linda Scott, community representatives Elizabeth Eames, John Butler, Marnie Mourneault, Rob Ullrich, Ronnie Paradis, Stacey Laflamme, and Zam Zam Mohamud, City employees Dave Jones and Jeff Baril, Planning Board
member Bruce Damon and School Department employees Butch Pratt, Elaine Runyon, Joe Perryman, Steve Whitfield, Kristie Clark and Bill Webster. The Committee was assisted by Jeff Larimer, Frank Crabtree and Mark Lee, all associates of Harriman, a full service architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Auburn.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Webster, Superintendent, 795-4100