Regional School Unit 22 is proposing to use $2 million from its American Rescue Plan Act allotment to build an eight-classroom addition at Hampden Academy. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

A proposal to spend $2 million to add eight classrooms to Hampden Academy will go before voters in the four towns that make up Regional School Unit 22 in early April.

Voters on the same day will also decide whether to use $866,000 in state money on upgrades to the exterior of Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden.

The vote in Hampden, Newburgh, Winterport and Frankfort will take place April 5. The addition at Hampden Academy would account for a major portion of the funds RSU 22 is receiving under the federal American Rescue Plan that passed Congress last year.

The new third-floor classrooms and restroom will ease overcrowding at the high school that opened in 2012, according to Christine Boone, RSU 22’s assistant superintendent.

The school was designed for 800 students but had 810 last school year.

“Hampden Academy was built with the infrastructure in place to add the eight classrooms,” Boone said.

The new space will allow the high school to add a Junior ROTC program, and make social distancing easier should it be needed in the future, according to Boone.

Social distancing was difficult for students during the pandemic because tables and desks were built into the floor when the school was constructed 10 years ago, making it difficult to move them around, she said.

The district previously spent federal rescue funds to upgrade the air filtering systems in its schools.

Money for the upgrades at the middle school, if approved, would come from Maine’s School Revolving Renovation Fund.

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The proposals are not expected to raise property taxes for residents, Boone said.

In addition to voting on the school district questions on April 5, Hampden residents will be asked whether they favor using $120,000 from leftover funds for a project that would extend the sewer line on Western Avenue by 200 feet to meet Route 1A.

A public hearing on the question will be held at 6 p.m. March 9 in the Hampden Academy gym.

Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the time and location of the public hearing on the referendum.