The new Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham is more than halfway complete, and due to begin classes in a year. Courtesy School Administrative District 75

TOPSHAM — The start of classes in School Administrative District 75 on Tuesday, Sept. 3, will mark the final time that a new school year begins at 46-year-old Mt. Ararat High School.

The 150,000-square-foot new Mt. Ararat High School is to be fully enclosed and functional in the coming months so interior work can proceed this winter. Courtesy School Administrative District 75

A new school with the same name, under construction on the Eagles Way campus and more than 50 percent complete, is expected to be ready for students a year from now. The current school, built in 1973, will be demolished soon afterward, and a synthetic turf athletic field will take its place.

The project remains on budget and schedule, and Superintendent Shawn Chabot on Aug. 22 said the district hopes to begin moving materials into the new structure in late June or early July 2020.

“We’re on a tight schedule to get that completed,” he said.

Not only must the existing building be emptied and decommissioned, but its foundation must be removed, too. Demolition is due to begin early next fall, with the new field to be complete in early spring 2021.

Chabot said he plans to discuss with Mt. Ararat High Principal Donna Brunette ways to commemorate the final year the current school will be open.

“I’m sure once we get the year kicked off here, as the fall progresses, that we’ll start thinking about how we want to close out the year with some sort of ceremony,” he said.

Meanwhile, the 2019-2020 school year will welcome two new administrators, including Chabot, who replaced interim Superintendent Bob Lucy July 1.

He is the former principal of Holy Cross School (2002-2005), then was assistant principal at McMahon Elementary School (2005-2011), principal of Lewiston Middle School (2011-2015), and principal of Lewiston High School (2015-2017). He served the last two years as assistant superintendent for Lewiston Public Schools.

Amanda Hersey, formerly curriculum director for Regional School Unit 73 in Livermore Falls, is SAD 75’s new assistant superintendent, replacing Peg Armstrong, who served a year in the interim role.

Chabot, who was part of the interview committee that chose Hersey, praised “her prior knowledge of curriculum and assessment, and best practices,” adding she had also served as an elementary school principal and teacher, and a literacy coach.

Chabot said he expects himself and Hersey to “really get a good understanding of the culture and climate of the district and each individual school, and do more listening than talking.”

With the support of the School Board, Chabot hopes to begin developing long-range goals for the district. The board already has two-year goals, and with the help of community stakeholders he hopes to start developing a longer-term strategic plan over the course of this school year.

“That way, when budget season comes and decisions need to be made, we can always refer to that plan, and have short-term and long-term goals,” Chabot said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.