FOUR YEARS OF fundraising and design led to the start of construction on the Harpswell structure this summer.

FOUR YEARS OF fundraising and design led to the start of construction on the Harpswell structure this summer.

HARPSWELL

With days getting shorter and persistent recent rain, the bandstand and gazebo at Mitchell Field is taking shape, but its volunteer building crew worries winter will arrive before the final screw is turned.

Four years of fundraising and design led to the start of construction on the octagonal structure this summer. So far, the roof is up and the signature cupola is perched, floor decking is almost finished, and the skeleton frame of steps has been laid.

Next spring, the area will be landscaped and the fronting field will be mowed, rolled and leveled to grade.

Two solar panels, scheduled to be installed Friday, will supply electricity to the gazebo’s outlets and backlighting to the cupola’s iconic cut-out “H.”

Dan Huber, one of the architects and the unofficial volunteer labor leader, said the panels weren’t an ecological statement so much as simply the most logical solution to a problem of power proximity: The nearest transformer is almost a half-mile away.

“It’s just the best option to power the project,” Huber said, gesturing to the former U.S. Navy powerhouse in the distance. “It’s a long way to run power up here.”

A portable, gas-powered generator chugged behind him as he spoke.

“Besides,” he said, nodding toward the generator, “those things use an awful lot of gas and the noise will drive you crazy.”

On a recent day, Bob Modr, who also helped design the bandstand, Huber and Bucky Taylor were cutting and installing composite decking on the bandstand floor while electrical consultant Paul Desjardins and Tom Carlise had gone to fetch the solar panels.

The project was approved at the 2010 town meeting. Although Mitchell Field is town land, the bandstand is funded entirely by private donations.

The first $50,000 went toward materials.

Work began in July.

A squad of volunteers gathered most Saturday mornings through the summmer. They’ve had some help, though: Region 10 Vocational-Technical School in Brunswick lent some students to the project, using engineering and building classes to cut and assemble eight large roof trusses and fabricate unique steel brackets.

Even though the town let the workers use a large, empty generator shed on the property to keep cutting and assembling, wet weather this year has slowed or even stalled progress.

Anyone interested in lending a hand can contact Huber at 833-6762.

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