SACO – Discussion continues on a proposal to replace Young School.

Young School, located at 36 Tasker St., is a modular-style building built over a decade ago as a short-term solution after the previous building was torn down due to mold. 

The School Department has proposed two options to replace the school. One option would cost about $27.8 million and replace both Young and Fairfield Elementary Schools with one bigger school at a new location near the Kimball Health Center on Lincoln Street. The other option would cost about $21.5 million and replace Young School at its current location and make upgrades to Fairfield School.

The proposals have been discussed in a school construction committee. Superintendent of Schools Dominic DePatsy said at Wednesday night’s School Board meeting the committee is divided on a recommendation for a proposal and some committee members would like to discuss their opinions with the board.

DePatsy said school officials are researching how a move to one school would impact the bus schedule, and will have results on the study at a later date.

Resident Melissa Field said she was concerned the estimate for the proposed Lincoln Street School didn’t consider costs to mitigate wetlands on the property. 

“This is one of the biggest decisions you will make,” said former School Board Member Stanley Mozden. “This decision will be in place 100 years.” Mozden said when making its decision on a proposal, the board needs to consider that the student population is moving west of the highway, where more families are moving to. Mozden also noted that in other communities, when a new school is built, more families move in that area.

Once the school board decides on a proposal, it will be voted on by residents at a city-wide ballot.

“No matter what the board does vote on … that’s not etched in stone. The citizens of the city have the final say,” said board member Michel Ohayon.

The board has not voted on when to have a public vote, but the consensus of Wednesday’s meeting was that a fall vote would take place.

Ohayon said he was leaning toward a September ballot, when there wouldn’t be any other questions on the ballot. “We want to draw the crowd that really cares about the school system,” he said.

School Board Chairman Kevin Lafortune and member Ted Sirois said they wanted a November ballot. “I think we should shoot for the biggest turn out,” said Sirois.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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