SULLIVAN — A location has been selected and initial site and floor plans have been submitted. Now, the next step in construction of a new building for Sumner Memorial High School is approval from the National Park Service to use land that it oversees.
“A big milestone in this project is the site application,” said Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) Superintendent Mike Eastman. “The site we chose was purchased with National Park Service money. We need permission from them to build on it, and that proposal is still pending approval.”
A section of where the new building will be constructed, just beyond the school’s baseball field, was previously purchased with grant money from the National Park Service as part of a program to build parks and athletic fields for local communities.
RSU 24 had planned to hold a public meeting with updates on the building project, but with land use approvals still pending, the decision was made to postpone it.
“If we don’t hear back soon, we might consider contacting our congressional delegation to see if they can help expedite the process,” Eastman said. “But this is likely just a function of bureaucracy.”
The current building was built in 1952 and is the only high school in RSU 24. The school serves around 250 students. Built on a 33-acre campus along Route 1 in Sullivan, the school was renovated in 1963, 1973 and 1986.
The new building, designed by Portland-based PDT Architects, also will enroll students from grades 6-8. PDT Architects has worked on several related projects in Maine, including Cony High School in Augusta and Freeport High School in Freeport.
The proposed Sumner building would house around 500 students. Construction is planned to begin in the fall of 2021.