BAR HARBOR — Cracks and potholes are evidence of the punishment the entrance drive at Mount Desert Island High School takes from hundreds of cars and dozens of buses every day.
The school’s board of trustees has decided to have the drive rebuilt this summer.
The project also will include creating a turn-out lane for buses in front of the school building, so they don’t have to line up in the travel lane, and rebuilding the sidewalks in that area.
Hedefine Engineering, which is designing the project, initially estimated a total construction cost of $250,000. But the cost could end up being less than that because the price of oil has fallen, and that will lower the price of asphalt.
“The [engineers] told us we couldn’t have picked a better time to get this done,” said Steve Hudson, a member of the board of trustees.
The plan currently calls for rebuilding the driveway from Eagle Lake Road to just past the high school’s main entrance. If bids come in low enough, the project could be extended to include the turn-around at the upper end of the drive.
The high school trustees are responsible for the school’s buildings and grounds. Their proposed budget for next year totals $412,200. But just over $105,000 of that is designated for debt service for capital improvement projects undertaken in previous years. So, only about $307,000 would be available next year for all other physical needs, including the driveway project.
Hudson said the trustees have been putting money away for several years in anticipation of the need to repave the school’s entrance drive and parking lots. So, the driveway project will not require any new tax money. In fact, the trustee’s proposed budget for next year is $26,000 less than the budget for the current fiscal year.
Sandy McFarland, chairman of the board of trustees, said the driveway project will involve more than just applying a fresh coat of asphalt.
“It will be more of a major redo,” he said. “They will be grinding down several inches. There are cracks and water damage and places where the engineers feel we need to improve drainage.”
The trustees said the large parking lot on the south side of the school, near the gym, and the large lot at the far end of the building also will need to be rebuilt in the next few years. McFarland said the driveway is in the worst condition, and the trustees decided not to address all of the paving needs at once.
“We feel it’s important to do it right rather than try to do a number of things but not do them to the best standard,” he said.
The plan is to put the driveway project out for bid once the engineers have finalized the specifications so that construction can start as soon as school is out in June.