Monday, April 21, 2014
As chair of the RSU 21 Facilities Committee, I am responding to Greg Burke’s Jan. 2 letter to the editor regarding the upcoming RSU 21 bond referendum (“RSU 21 school bond spends too much, too quickly”). Mr. Burke’s letter had numerous factual errors.
Here are the facts:
1. The RSU 21 bond will fund the renovation of Mildred Day School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School and Kennebunk High School.
2. These facilities are sorely in need of renovation, and the proposed projects will replace systems that are long past their useful lives, fix structural problems, improve accessibility and build safe and sound facilities for our district.
3. The costs of our renovation projects are in line with costs for similar projects in nearby districts, and are well-scoped by Harriman, an experienced Maine-based firm. The plans do not include “four new huge buildings,” as Mr. Burke’s letter stated.
4. There is not a $25 million performing arts center in RSU 21’s bond. The cost of the KHS arts facilities, which include an auditorium and art, band and chorus rooms, is $9.9 million, representing 18 percent of the project budget.
The new auditorium, at just over 500 seats, is appropriately sized for KHS and is smaller than many area facilities, including Biddeford Middle School, at 800 seats, and Scarborough High School, at 730 seats. Constructing these spaces in a separate building on campus will allow community organizations to use the facilities without impacting the security of the school.
5. The more elaborate performing arts center mentioned by Mr. Burke is not part of the school bond, and will only come to fruition if a visionary group of citizens succeeds in raising $20 million in private funds.
Details of the renovation projects are available at www.rsu21.net/ irsu21-initiatives.
We encourage voters to get the facts, and vote “yes” on the Jan. 21 referendum.
chair, RSU 21 Facilities Committee