Construction workers guide the last steel beam into place, completing the skeleton of the new Morse High School. (Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record)

BATH – Morse High School donors, contractors, town and school officials, alumni and student representatives came together Wednesday to mark the completion of the new high school building’s steel structure.  

Attendees signed the final steel beam that makes up the building’s skeleton before it was hoisted by a crane and set in place atop the structure in a “topping off” ceremony.  

With the skeleton of the new school complete, the next step in the building process is constructing the exterior walls, a process that will happen after Christmas, according to Architect Ron Lamarre.  

Once complete, the new school at the Wing Farm Business Park will stand three-stories tall and cover nearly 186,000 square feet, slightly larger than the current Morse High School building on High Street. The school will have two gyms, two athletic fields, and a revamped theater.  

“We’re never going to replace the original Morse High School in the memories of its students, but this building will take the school into the 21st century,” said RSU 1 board Chairman Steve August.  

Built by New Hampshire-based Harvey Construction, the school will house Morse High School and the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center.  

The project has not experienced any delays and has remained within budget, according to Superintendent Patrick Manuel.  

The state is funding $67.4 million of the $75.3 million cost; $7.2 million is to be paid locally through borrowing, with $700,000 earmarked from fundraising.  

The project is expected to be completed in December 2020. Morse students will begin the 2020-21 school year in the existing Morse High School building, then move to the new building after Christmas break. Once students move to the new building, ownership of the old building will be handed to Bath, but it is still unknown what the city will do with the building. 

Bath held a public meeting in June to hear residents’ ideas on what they should do with the nearly century-old structure. While ideas offered were diverse, popular themes centered around turning the building into a mixed-use space while preserving elements of the original structure such as the facade and the theater.  

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