WELLS — Wells High School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of a renovation project that’s been in the works for six years.

The new 88,000-squarefoot addition helps to modernize the school, and includes a vast library, main office, guidance services, conference rooms, classrooms and media labs, all of which will be available for students beginning Wednesday.

“The idea for a new school stems back to our major infrastructure problems, which occurred in 2009,” said Jim Daly, superintendent of the Wells- Ogunquit Consolidated School District and former WHS principal. “We established a committee for discussion in 2011 and after a long winter of construction and renovation, we’re finally able to celebrate.”

The second phase, which includes a new gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen and auditorium, is expected to be finished by August, Daly said. That phase will include some demolition as well as renovation.

“There is a tremendous amount of work that was done here from the two towns,” Wells and Ogunquit, said Assistant Principle Josh Gould. “Numerous people, including Eileen, Josh and parent volunteers, that have spent three years or so making sure we do what is best for our students here at this school.”

Students such as senior Anna Furness are excited to get a chance to experience the new facilities.

“I’m sad I have to leave before I really get the chance to experience the newly reconstructed school,” said Furness, who is scheduled to graduate this spring. “But it’s exciting to think other students will be here making new memories after I leave.”

Principal Eileen Sheehy said that during the time of construction, students were very understanding of the noises and disruptions.

“The students have had to put up with changes, some of which have come at short notice,” she said. “But their transition has been very smooth, easy and cooperative. The kids have been tremendously flexible, and can adjust on the spot.”

For junior Taryn Lambert, the additions are a tremendous improvement over the old classrooms. She acknowledged that the noise of construction could be distracting, but said it was necessary to endure.

“I’ve had to get taken out of classes to take tests because it was loud for everyone,” she said. “Our study hall got blocked off, so we were in a tighter room than originally planned as well. We all pushed through it, because we all knew the good that would come from it.”

Wells High School was established in 1901. More than once, Lambert said, her father has accompanied her to school, commenting on her classroom numbers and recollecting memories of attending there as a child himself. His experiences are what drive her desire to watch WHS improve.

“I like being in a new building at the same location where my dad went to school, because it allows me to build my own memories but still be reminded of his,” she said. “Because I’m a junior, I get to experience the school before, during and after its construction. The class of 2017 is lucky in the sense that we are the first ones who get to test it out.”


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