CARIBOU, Maine — Excitement grows as Regional School Unit 39 inches along the path toward a new school to replace three aging elementary and middle schools.

While the school district is still determining whether their capital improvement project would lead to a new building or a major renovation project, PDT Architects has made it clear that consolidation and new construction are the direction to take.

Working alongside the administration, PDT has taken an eagle’s eye view of the surrounding area trying to scout out potential build locations.

“We’ve looked at approximately 10 sites, and we’ve narrowed it down to six most viable sites,” Lyndon Keck, founding partner of PDT Architects, said at the building committee’s June 11 meeting.

Those six locations include areas surrounding Teague Park Elementary, Hilltop Elementary, a site behind and one next to the high school, a parcel on the Van Buren Road and property near Main Street. Civil engineers have walked each location and will be entering criteria into a matrix to determine what’s environmentally most promising.

Keck and PDT’s Chelsea Lipham showed the committee their first “test fits” of what the grounds might look like if they were to construct a new building near Teague Park or across Bennett Drive at the Learning Center.

There is no design work yet, but the test fits are a way of visualizing where a building would go.

Keck and Lipham floated the idea of a two-story building to save on energy costs and have a single entrance for safety. Space challenges, bussing configurations and parking were topics of discussion at the meeting, with Keck stating sites with more flexibility would make the design process a little easier.

Test fits still are in the works for the remaining sites.

Keck and his team have completed a draft analysis of a new school versus renovation. He that based on the results of lead and asbestos testing done at Teague, Hilltop and the middle school, PDT is recommending construction of a new building.

RSU 39 has made it easier for the public to follow the capital improvement project process by including links to a timeline and meeting agendas on its website at rsu39.org.