RSU 24 plans straw poll on new high school plans

SULLIVAN — On May 1, Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) officials will hold a forum and straw poll seeking input from residents of member communities on plans to build a new high school and middle school where Sumner Memorial High School currently stands.

RSU 24 Business Manager David Bridgham said the event’s schedule is still being finalized. It likely will include a presentation from Lyndon Keck, a principal at PDT Architects, the firm that has been working with school district officials to plan the new facility.

Keck will address some of the work his firm has done so far, as well as potential layout options for the new high school.

Bridgham plans to discuss the purchase of a nearby parcel of land that abuts Route 1 in Sullivan, which will allow the facility more room along the roadway. That purchase, which was approved by the School Board in late March, followed negotiations with the current landowner.

The meeting also will feature a discussion on lessons learned from community meetings that were run throughout the fall and early winter by education consultant Katrina Kane, who is the superintendent of Hancock and Lamoine schools. Either Kane or Nicole Chan, the district’s director of curriculum, will host that discussion.

At the end of the meeting, community members will vote on whether they want the district to move forward with the plan to build a new high school at the site where Sumner currently stands.

Participants also will have a chance to sign up for subcommittees that will help form the basis for the new school project. Those focus areas include technology, education and industrial arts; physical education and athletics; sustainability and energy and arts and performance.

“We’re hoping for a big turnout, of course,” Bridgham said. “We’ve sent a flyer to every house in the district we can get to in the U.S. mail.”

The vote is a requirement for the Department of Education’s new school process, and the results will be sent to officials in Augusta.

The May 1 forum and straw poll will be held at 7 p.m. in the Sumner cafeteria.

Jack Dodson
Jack Dodson began working for The Ellsworth American in mid-2017, and covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties. He grew up in the Mid-coast region before living in New York City for five years, where he freelanced in documentary filmmaking and journalism. He is particularly interested in criminal justice, environment and immigration reporting.

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