SCARBOROUGH – The plan for a new Wentworth Intermediate School calls for an energy-efficient, two-story building just to the northwest of the existing school off Route 114.

Leaders of the 40-member Wentworth Intermediate School Building Committee unveiled the floor plans to the Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday night.

Residents will vote this fall on whether to borrow money for the project. A similar plan was rejected at the polls in 2006.

The building committee has not released cost estimates for the new proposal. As expected, design plans for the school show a smaller building with fewer bells and whistles than the $38.5 million proposal that failed five years ago.

“The committee has done a lot of work to bring it in substantially smaller than it was in 2006,” said Dan Cecil, an architect from Harriman Associates.

The building would be about 172,000 square feet, about 12,000 square feet less than the one proposed in 2006. The plan calls for 40 standard classrooms, down from 46. There would be less room for community uses and the stage would be smaller.

Wentworth serves about 775 students in the third, fourth and fifth grades. It was built as a junior high school in 1963 and has had additions over the years.

The new building would basically be a rectangle, oriented to the south. It would have a large interior courtyard and much more use of glass than traditional schools, to maximize natural daylight.

“If you look at your energy bill, about half of that cost is just the artificial light in your building, so anything you can do to increase natural light, you should do,” Cecil told the school board.

Cost estimates for the building are expected to be presented to the board July 7. The final proposal would go to the Town Council on July 20. The council is responsible for putting the project on the ballot for November.

Supporters say the Wentworth school must be replaced for a variety of reasons, including overcrowding and problems with mold and asbestos. The school lacks a fire suppression system, and it is not fully handicapped accessible.

Building committee members say the district has spent $1.3 million since 2006 to address problems at the school, and will have to spend another $2.5 million over the next three years to address ongoing and new problems.

If the new school is endorsed by voters, construction will begin next year, with the goal of opening for the fall of 2014. The existing Wentworth school would be demolished.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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