Baileyville Looks at Proposed School Construction

Architect Steve Blatt presents the Baileyville Town Council with the proposed plans for the expansion project at the high school. The project would include construction of a cafeteria and kitchen which would double a community space. The $1.6 million project is on the Nov. 6 ballot. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Kaileigh Deacon

At their regular Council meeting on Monday, October 22nd, the Baileyville Town Council heard a presentation from Superintendent Bill Braun and architect Steve Blatt on the proposed construction of a cafeteria at the Woodland Junior Senior High School.

The construction project is on the November 6 ballot as a bond issue in the amount of $1.6 million. The proposal would be for the addition of a cafeteria on the First Avenue end of the building. The current kitchen and cafeteria situation at the high school is using a converted locker room for a kitchen that prepares meals for both Woodland schools and the gym serves as both classroom and cafeteria during lunches.

The cost of the bond would be for the actual construction of the cafeteria as well as the furniture and kitchen supplies needed for completion. Steve Blatt said that the project would include little to no renovation to the existing building and would be mostly new construction so the project could be completed while there were students in the school if necessary. The project would take roughly seven to eight months for completion.

In addition to providing better kitchen facilities and a separate location for meals at the school, this project would also add a community space. With seating for 168 to 201, 14-foot-high ceilings and better acoustics, the new cafeteria would provide an additional performance space and meeting space for the community.

The bond vote will be on the November 6th ballot and a second informational meeting will be held during the school board meeting on October 30 at 5:30 p.m.

Superintendent Braun also presented to the Council the status of the other renovations being done at both schools. The playground at the elementary school has been fitted with mats making the equipment safer for the students. The right side of the elementary school lot has been excavated to allow for better drainage. The roof, window and wall replacement is expected to be completed this summer.

At the high school the new roof is coming close to completion. The installation of the new boilers at the elementary school has been going along smoothly as well. Additional projects along with electrical work, lighting and exterior work will be completed later as the year goes on.

The Council held their third and final public hearing on the retail sale of marijuana. The ordinance will not allow the retail sale, such as storefronts, within the city limits. The ordinance would not prohibit the cultivation of marijuana or medical use. After the public hearing with no input, the council held the third and final reading of the ordinance amendments and passed it unanimously.

The Town Council also looked at the BUD’s proposed rate increase. The increase would raise the hydrant rental from $114,000 a year to $146,408 a year starting January 1 with a second increase in January 2020 to $168,421. The BUD stated that the rate increase results from not having kept up with raising rates to cover expenses.  The rate increase would get the BUD back on track for this issue.  

For residents, the minimum rate increase will be from $64.48 per quarter to $80.60 per quarter, then in 2020, the rate would go from $80.60 to $90.69 per quarter.

 “I think it’s time that the town looks at if it makes sense for us to go back to owning our utility district,” said Tim Call.

Town Manager Chris Loughlin will look into what steps could be taken to consider a town-owned utility as well as meeting with the BUD. The BUD will be holding an open meeting about the rate increase on November 7 at 7 p.m. at the Woodland Elementary School.

 

The Council also discussed the upcoming County Budget. The town’s portion went up 52%. Chris Loughlin explained that about 4% of that 52% accounted for the budget increase this year while 48% of that increase goes to cover existing costs. The total increase is roughly $180,000. The Council was encouraged to attend the meeting on the County Budget on October 30th in Machias.