DEXTER - Alan Smith, principal at Dexter Middle School, dislikes rainy days because he has to dodge the pails that are used to collect water that leaks through the roof of the aging facility. He also has to stretch his tight budget to pay for janitors to stay through those rainy nights to dump the buckets before they overfill and further damage the floor tiles.
"It's interesting. We patch an area and leaks spring out somewhere else," Smith said Wednesday.
The leaky roof is just one of many reasons that SAD 46 has been placed on the state's protected list for funds for a new school. But before the district can access those funds, officials have been ordered to exhaust all avenues of consolidation. District officials have discussed the possibilities of regional consolidation and now are focusing on in-district consolidation.
"We are looking at how we can address space needs throughout the entire district," SAD 46 Superintendent Lester Butler said Wednesday. One arrangement that is being looked at closely is the construction of a new middle and primary school. The move not only would address structural problems at the circa-1950 middle school, but also would address the space needs at the circa-1960 elementary school, he said. The latter school has been outgrown and its population has spilled into several portable classrooms, prompted in part by an increasing kindergarten population.
"It gets to a point where we really need to have adequate facilities," Butler said. While the portable classrooms are functional and meet the needs of students, they are not a replacement, he said.
School directors are working with the district's architect, Stephen Blatt of Portland, to find a solution that would serve the district best. When that is done, directors will solicit comment from residents, which is an important element in the process, according to Butler.
"We'd like to have adequate facilities tomorrow, but we realize it does take time," Butler said.
Until that time arrives, Smith will continue to have the roof patched and the pails readied.
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