OAKLAND — School and community officials will break ground Friday on a project that will transform the track and football field at Messalonskee High into a state-of-the-art multisport athletic complex.

The ceremony marks the start of the $3.9 million renovation project – part of a larger bond that residents from the Oakland-based Regional School Unit 18 voted to pass in November.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am for this,” Superintendent Carl Gartley said. “It’s going to be good for the students and the entire community.”

The project includes numerous upgrades to the high school, including an eight-lane track to replace the current outdoor track, dubbed the dirt oval; multisport artificial turf to replace the grass field used exclusively for football; and upgraded lighting and renovation of the grandstand area to bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Gartley said Messalonskee will be able to host state meets as well as rent out the complex for events as it does with its performing arts center.

The complex is expected to be finished by early October, Gartley said, adding that the district is on track with its timeline and its budget.

The district is working with E.L. Vining & Son, a Farmington contracting company, to complete the project. E.L. Vining specializes in commercial site work, including athletic fields. The company has worked on Messalonskee Middle School and has had a good relationship with the district, according to RSU 18’s website.

Gartley said E.L. Vining submitted the lower of two bids, coming in at $3.4 million to do the project, in a public process. Gartley said the bid didn’t include the cost of the engineer’s plans, among other fees.

The athletic complex first was proposed by the Messalonskee All Sports Boosters, which raised money for feasibility studies and a cost estimate.

Students, school officials, coaches and community members are expected to attend at 12:30 p.m. Friday when the ground is broken on the high school football field.