Voters pass bond for Conners Emerson renovation design

BAR HARBOR – Voters approved a $3 million bond question at Tuesday’s election to pay for further design work for a future overhaul of the aging Conners Emerson School.

By a count of 1682 yes to 400 no, voters passed the question on the preliminary phase of what is estimated to be a $40 million-plus project.

The Bar Harbor School Committee has recommend removing the Conners building and replacing it with a two-story addition onto a renovated Emerson building.

The Conners building is 70 years old, and the Emerson building is about 10 years its junior. Both are susceptible to leaky roofs, inadequate insulation and starved for space. The worry that the boiler system and other critical infrastructure constantly hangs over school officials’ heads.

The school committee decided earlier this year to take the project in piecemeal, splitting the design work from the overall vote on funding construction. With the first step complete, school officials will now move forward with a bond question for the major renovation.

The committee was poised to bring the question earlier but delayed those plans with the pandemic. The school has been working with Carla Haskell, an Ellsworth architect, for the project.

Upgrades would include added insulation, roof repairs and upgrades to major systems including heating, air circulation and plumbing. The demolition of the Conners building would allow room to redesign the school’s parking lot and create outdoor classrooms.

The school has children from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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