An illustration of a preliminary design for a new Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan. Officials with RSU 24 say the goal is to have the building constructed before the start of the 2022-23 academic year. Credit: Courtesy of RSU 24

Voters in nine towns on Tuesday approved a proposal to build a new $45 million school in Sullivan that will replace Sumner Memorial High School, according to officials in Regional School Unit 24.

The project passed by a 550-227 vote, RSU 24 officials said Wednesday morning.

In a separate vote, area residents also approved the RSU’s proposed 2019-20 annual budget of $17 million by a 590-173 margin.

“We are grateful for the support both [proposals] received and will continue to keep you updated with information on the progress on the building project,” RSU 24 officials said in a statement posted on the district’s website.

The new school is expected to serve roughly 500 students in grades 6 through 12 from the nine towns that make up the RSU. It will replace the current Sumner Memorial High School on Route 1, which was built in the early 1950s. Middle school-age students from RSU 24’s four K-8 schools will attend the new school.

With the project approved, the goal is to have the new school constructed and open in time for the 2022-23 academic year, according to RSU officials. The new building will be constructed on the same Route 1 lot, behind the current high school, which would remain in use while construction takes place. The existing building would be demolished and replaced with an athletic field in the summer of 2023.

RSU 24’s enrollment, currently about 870 students, is not expected to change significantly over the next decade, the district’s superintendent, Michael Eastman, has said.

At an informal straw poll taken in March in the proposal, residents expressed support for the project by a 46-11 margin.

RSU 24 serves Eastbrook, Franklin, Gouldsboro, Mariaville, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham and Winter Harbor. Steuben is the one town in the RSU that is located in Washington County, while the rest are in Hancock County.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....