BREWER, Maine — School officials learned nearly a decade ago that there was little chance the state would pay to replace Brewer High School, which was built in 1958, so they turned to a zero interest federal bond and last year and was awarded one for more than $5 million.
The school board learned on Monday that Brewer has been awarded a second multimillion-dollar Quality School Construction bond that will be used, if residents approve acceptance of the funds, to improve classrooms and technology, Superintendent Daniel Lee said Tuesday.
“We’ve already been approved for $5.4 million and now we’ve received authorization from the state for an additional $2.7 million,” he said. “We have to go to the voters again.”
The vote will be this fall, he said.
Brewer was awarded the school construction bonds for the high school through the Maine Department of Education.
Residents approved accepting the $5.4 million Quality School Construction bond last fall to modify and create one main entrance at the high school and improve security. The Phase One project also adds a 100-seat lecture hall, moves administrative offices, improves the capacity and look of the cafeteria, and adds a new bus lane that connects with Acme Road.
The Phase One renovation of the high school, which has been renovated seven times in the past five decades, is in the design phase, Lee said.
The cost to Brewer taxpayers for Phase One of the project essentially will be flat because payments for the improvements would not start until other debt is retired in 2016, school officials have said.
The second bond for Phase Two of the high school renovation project will go before voters in the fall. If Brewer doesn’t accept the money, it will be awarded to another school district, Lee said.
“We think the first week of July is when they will be ready to go to work [on Phase One],” the superintendent said.
The Phase One work is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014.
David Wall, principal of Brewer High School, is working with his administrative team on a contingency plan for students and staff while the project is underway. That plan is expected to be unveiled at the March school board meeting.