BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School will borrow up to $1 million to pave the parking lots and rebuild the area around the gym entrance this summer.
The school’s trustees voted March 23 to solicit bids for the project, which is expected to cost around $750,000, and to authorize Superintendent Marc Gousse to secure financing.
School officials said the ability to borrow more than is likely to be needed for the paving work would give them the flexibility to use some of the excess amount to help pay for the walls and windows replacement project, which would be going on at the same time.
The trustees last month accepted a bid of $586,860 from E.L. Shea Builders to replace walls and windows in the classroom wing that were installed improperly in 2000, some of which have been leaking during heavy rains.
Principal Matt Haney said that while the trustees have enough money to cover that project, it would nearly deplete their budget.
“We’re going to be riding close to the edge on funding,” Trustee Steve Hudson said. “We’re not going to have money for anything else for a few years after doing the walls. So, if we’re looking at having nothing available to cover any major projects that could show up, I think having an extra $250,000 isn’t a bad idea.”
He and others said that another option for using all or some of the excess borrowed funds would be to accelerate the payoff of the $1 million loan.
“We can’t just over-borrow by $250,000 and let it sit there,” Haney said.
Asked if he had expected the cost of the project to be as high as $750,000, Haney said, “We actually thought it might be more.”
There was general agreement that it probably wouldn’t cost any less in the future and likely would cost more.
“I say let’s do it because it’s been on the table a long time,” Trustee Jim Bright said.
The paving project is to include the large parking lot between the gym and the baseball field, the large lot near the tennis courts and football field and the area at the back of the school building. The estimated cost of the paving and the reconstruction of the gym entrance area includes $718,000 for the work itself plus engineering, bid review and project administration costs.
The high school’s entrance drive and adjacent parking spaces in front of the building were rebuilt two years ago.
Both the new paving work and the walls and windows project must be done between the last day of classes in June and the start of school in late August. Haney was asked if having both projects going on at the same time would be difficult.
“We talked with E.L. Shea [the walls and windows contractor] about that, and they said, ‘No problem,’” Haney said. “They will work with whoever the paving contractor is, and they will both do their work in an order that’s least disruptive to the other.”