With the steel skeleton of the new school in place, construction crews turned their attention to the floors, ceiling, and walls. (Photo courtesy of Cuyler Feagles)

BATH — One month after the steel skeleton of the new Morse High School was completed, construction crews are working to enclose the structure and finish the floors before temperatures drop below freezing.

“The brickwork and the roofing have all been moving along as it should,” said Cuyler Feagles, clerk of the works for Regional School Unit 1.

Feagles said crews are working to finish laying the slab flooring before the weather becomes too cold. Only the ground floor is left, but Feagles said he is confident crews will finish pouring the concrete in time.

“Laying brick requires a minimum temperature so the mortar doesn’t freeze,” said Feagles. “Because of the schedule, Harvey, the contractor, budgeted the cost of tenting and heating the areas where the masons will be working so that they can keep working throughout the winter.”

The project has stayed within budget and on time, according to Feagles.

“This has been a smooth process so far,” said Feagles. “It’s all going quite well.”

Aside from construction, the next tasks will include choosing cosmetic elements, such as paint colors and furniture for the school, which the building committee will pick in the coming months according to Patrick Manuel, RSU 1 superintendent.

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

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

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.

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, the old building will belong 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 building. While ideas offered were diverse, popular themes centered around turning the building into a mixed-use space, meaning it would serve as commercial and residential space, while preserving elements of the original structure such as the facade and the theater.

Meyers said the city closed a request for proposals for a reuse study consultant to help determine the best use of the facilities and site after students move to the new high school. Once chosen, the consultant will conduct a site assessment, building analysis, then give feedback and reuse options.

Meyers said he is optimistic and looking forward to seeing what the old school becomes.

“It’s a once every 50 to 100 years process, so it certainly draws a lot of excitement,” said Meyers.

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