Sanford #2 on state's school construction priority list | News

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Sanford #2 on state's school construction priority list
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SANFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Administrators at schools that are ranked highly on the state's list of priority construction projects are now starting to think about what they might do with any money that comes their way.

Sanford High School and Regional Technical Center placed number two in the state, just a tenth of a point behind the leading school, Corinth Morison Memorial. And two other elementary schools in Sanford are in the top 15 on the list.

The list coming out of the Department of Education is still preliminary. School districts have 60 days to appeal their placement.

At number two on the list, it's a pretty good bet that Sanford will be getting some money. 22 schools were approved for renovation or construction in the last rating cycle in 2004-5. But what the school district ultimately does will likely depend on how much money the state is willing to give. School districts will not have that information for some time

Sanford High School has a space problem. Students are assigned to one of 5 lunch periods because the multi-purpose space doesn't have room. There are 24 portable classrooms sitting outside the main building. The tech center is so poorly ventilated that teachers sometimes have to open a door when students are using machines. And they don't have the space or infrastructure to be able to use modern computer technology in a lot of cases.

Superintendent Betsy St. Cyr says her dream would be to build a whole new campus near the intersection of Route 4 and Route 109 that meets modern standards and retrofit the high school to house students from the two Sanford elementary schools that made the state's list. But, she says, the state may not be willing to put up that kind of money. In that case, the high school would be renovated.

St. Cyr estimates that whether the district gets a whole new campus or not, construction probably won't happen for about 5 years or so.

The state has to take a look at project proposals from schools on the construction list, determine how much money can go to each project, and decide the timing of those projects.

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