Regional School Unit 14 officials received bids last week for the partial demolition of the John Andrew School in South Windham and were set to discuss the work further this week.

RSU 14’s facilities director Bill Hansen said he planned to meet with the school board on Wednesday, after the Lakes Region Weekly’s deadline, to discuss the bids for the project, which includes knocking down the circa 1926 wooden section of the school building and hauling away the debris.

Of the five contractors who submitted proposals on Nov. 13, Emerson Excavating of Windham came in as the lowest bidder at $51,977, Hansen said. The other bidders include C.R. Tandberg of Windham, EnviroVantage of Westbrook, Dearborn Brothers Construction of Buxton, and Doten’s Construction of Freeport.

C.R. Tandberg submitted the second lowest bid at $62,820, according to Hansen.

District officials have been evaluating the future use of the building and discussing whether to tear down the older dilapidated portion of the school since late last winter, Hansen said.

“We had an issue with a part of the roof over the winter and after an engineering evaluation of the structure it was determined that the building was severely structurally deficient when compared to today’s codes and requirements,” he said.

The school, located at 55 High St. in South Windham and posted with no-trespassing signs, has been used a storage facility for RSU 14 school materials since it became vacant in 2008 when Windham’s REAL School, an alternative education program for students with behavioral and learning difficulties, moved to Mackworth Island in Falmouth in order to accommodate students from the Greater Portland area.

The current building replaced a two-story structure that was built in 1887 and burned in the early 1920s, according to members of the Windham Historical Society. The school is named after John Albion Andrew, who was born in Windham in a house on the corner of Depot and High streets and served as governor of Massachusetts during the Civil War, said Kay Soldier, historian for the Windham Historical Society.

Hansen told the Lakes Region Weekly that the building is outdated, structurally deficient and no longer meets the school district’s needs. He said part of the project, however, would include retaining a newer portion of the single-story 8,500-square-foot building for storage needs.

According to Hansen, so far residents have not expressed opposition to the project. The plan is to demolish the wooden portion of the school building by the end of the year, he said.

At least a portion of the John Andrew School in South Windham is set to be torn down by the end of the year.


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