Matt Ahlberg of Barrett Made, a Portland-based design and build firm hired by North Yarmouth in 2016, expects the town’s Wescustogo Hall and Community Center to be complete by November. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

NORTH YARMOUTH — Three years after the process began, a new community center is in sight.

What was once a 3D conceptual tour shown to residents at a series of meetings is now a reality at 120 Memorial Highway (Route 9), where a new Wescustogo Hall has been built next to a pared-down and renovated former North Yarmouth Memorial School.

The Wescustogo Hall and Community Center is due to be complete by November, according to Matt Ahlberg of Barrett Made, the Portland-based firm hired to design and build the project.

Construction remains on budget and schedule, he said July 3 during a tour of the site.

The new Wescustogo Hall will fit about 300 people, and can be partitioned off into three sections for individual activities. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

“We’ll be wrapping things up here toward the end of the summer, and then tying up loose ends into September, and be out of here hopefully by October,” Ahlberg said. “… We’ll get the inside of the building wrapped up, and then the (site work) outside will follow that.”

Millwork, including trimming and wood accents, is among the remaining chores. The gym floor is being completed, with sealing and painting of lines to come. Bathroom and plumbing fixtures are soon to follow. Exterior work includes trim paint and signs.

Ahlberg said he conservatively estimates the project is 75% complete, noting that some remaining elements will take more time and fine tuning than others.

“Things like the finished trim, and the sliding partitions (inside the new Wescustogo),” he said. “Those are things we want to give ourselves enough time, to make sure they’re perfect before we get out of here.”

Site work includes installing lighting fixtures and completing the paving around the 19,500-square-foot center, where there will be parking for 85 vehicles. The original NYMS had roughly half that number, Ahlberg said.

An adjacent ball field and second paved driveway to Route 9, normally gated off, will provide overflow parking.

Lack of parking was an issue at the original Wescustogo, a former Grange hall on Route 115 destroyed by fire in 2013. Ahlberg said he guessed there were no more than 20 spaces.

The new Wescustogo is attached via a lobby to the former NYMS, which School Administrative District 51 closed and turned over to the town in 2014.

“It’ll be really nice when it’s all wrapped up,” Ahlberg said. “The way these projects go, is when you’re in it for multiple years it doesn’t really feel real until it’s done. … We were at it a couple years before we even started construction.”

As a North Yarmouth resident who lives near the construction site, he said, “it’s pretty awesome to hear the buzz around town (about the project).”

Voters in June 2018 narrowly approved a $3.4 million bond for the work. The first debt service payment, in North Yarmouth’s fiscal year 2020 budget, is nearly $286,000.

The Friends of Wescustogo aims to raise $250,000 for the project, of which a little more than $7,000 has been raised to date, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said Monday. Darla Hamlin, chairwoman of the ad hoc group, said an online giving site will soon be launched, and a benefit golf tournament will be held in September.

Ways to donate are posted at northyarmouth.org/friends-wescustogo/pages/donation-options.

The town is required to borrow enough money to complete the project, and what comes through fundraising “will have a positive impact on the bottom line; any excess of bond funds after the project is complete will be put towards interest and then principal,” Roy said in March.

 


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