School officials at Memorial School in New Gloucester have invited the citizens of Gray and New Gloucester to an open house on Saturday, Nov. 3, marking the completion of renovations that began more than a year ago and meant to update the outdated building. A new wing and administrative offices are being wrapped up this week.

The renovations are part of a $10.2 million dollar bond that was passed by Gray and New Gloucester voters in November of 2006 to update all the schools in the SAD 15 school district.

Renovations on the Dunn School in New Gloucester and Gray-New Gloucester Middle School are complete, and R&R Construction, the Lewiston-based company hired for the project, is now working on Russell Elementary School in Gray.

“Every school in the district is getting some attention,” said Terry Towle, the Finance Manager for MSAD 15.

Towle said that, of the $10.2 million allocated for school renovations, a little more than $1 million was spent on renovation Memorial Elementary School. The most expensive renovation will be done at Gray-New Gloucester High School, which will receive work to its current structure, as well as a new administrative wing and physical education area.

The majority of school renovation costs are being funded by the taxpayers of Gray and New Gloucester, though the state has helped by approving about $4 million for the project.

David Sutherland, who is a member of the SAD 15 school district, and chair of the facilities committee, said that antiquated school buildings were in dire need of renovation, with problems like asbestos, and outdating heating systems that needed attention.

“You had some pretty serious structural concerns. It went way beyond cosmetics,” said Sutherland.

Sutherland added that he was pleased with the outcome of the project, and noted that voter support helped the project go smoothly.

“I’m speaking as a taxpayer. We’re really getting a lot of bang for our buck, and we have the voters to thank,” said Sutherland.

Sutherland’s and his wife, Beth, are also parents of a Memorial Elementary School student. Beth Sutherland said that when she brings her first-grader to school each morning, she continues to hear positive feedback about the renovations.

“Everybody who comes in there is just so pleased about how nicely it has turned out,” said Sutherland.

The open house will run from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 3.

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