Four acres owned by the city of Westbrook will be used as part of the upcoming expansion and renovation of Saccarappa Elementary School.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to convey the land to the school department, which is hoping to have a referendum on its expansion project this November.

The parcel is adjacent to the elementary school building at 110 Huntress Ave., and according to meeting documents, is needed to accommodate relocated parking and playgrounds, as well as a small section of the proposed building expansion.

“This wooded parcel was acquired by the city in 1972 and has been retained, in part, to accommodate any future expansion need of the school,” said City Administrator Jerre Bryant in his memo to the council.

Bryant said a Portland Water District water line and easement pass through the southerly side of the city parcel, but that it has no impact on the school expansion plans.

Conveying the parcel to the school department was reviewed by the City Council in a workshop with the school department and the school’s building committee on May 23. The school expansion project proposes 12 new classrooms, a gym, cafeteria and library at Saccarappa, and the completion of a third-floor wing of six classrooms at Westbrook Middle School.

Dan Cecil of Harriman Associates, the architect designing the project, was present during the meeting Monday, answering questions for councilors. Councilor Anna Turcotte, who has two children who are either currently in the school or have passed through, asked Cecil about public comments during a recent forum. Many had to do with recent development plans in the city that are adding to overcrowding concerns.

Cecil said a population study conducted by Portland company Planning Decisions will look at the entire city, with births in the area, development and land that could be developed in the future.

He also said they’ll speak with Catholic Charities, which has said that it may be relocating some 500 people to southern Maine, which may include Westbrook.

Cecil said the primary feedback was also for traffic movement through the neighborhood, but that the public was largely supportive of the project.

If approved by voters in November, Cecil said, the project would go out to bid during the winter, with construction starting the summer of 2017. Construction would most likely go through the 2018 school year, with the middle school completed first.

No cost estimates have yet been made for the project.

Preliminary plans for the expansion and renovation of Saccarappa Elementary School.


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