PORTLAND — School officials say they will appeal the state’s decision to rank a replacement for Fred P. Hall Elementary School at No. 12 on the list of school construction projects in line for state funding.

School officials say Hall School is in such poor condition that it needs to be replaced.
“The building’s poor condition has forced us to stop using one of the kindergarten classrooms,” said Portland Superintendent James C. Morse Sr.  “I fear that more rooms will become uninhabitable, until we lose use of the building completely.”

Although Hall School rated relatively high on the state’s list of school construction projects, officials are concerned that only a handful of projects will receive funding.

Although a final determination has not been made, “people are right to think that we won’t get as far down on the list as in the past,” said David Connerty-Marin, the spokesman for the Maine Department of Education.

Connerty-Marin said the second project on the list, a replacement for Sanford High School, is projected to cost $70 million to $80 million on its own.

In the last school construction funding cycle, in 2004-05, 22 projects were funded by the state. The time before that, about 10 were, Connerty-Marin said.

“Given the large number of projects ahead of Hall on the list and limited state funding, it is likely to be several years before the project gets under way,” Morse said. “The school’s deteriorating condition cannot continue indefinitely.”

The list is based on a scoring system that assigns points to the level of need in a range of areas, such as unsafe building and site conditions; program-related facility and system deficiencies; enrollment and overcrowding; and program and planning.

Four other Portland school projects are on the list. They are Longfellow Elementary (18), Howard C. Reiche Community School (21), Presumpscot Elementary (33) and Lyseth Elementary (43).