Concept design for new South Portland Middle School Courtesy photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — On Jan. 13, Superintendent Ken Kunin announced that the Maine Board of Education gave final design and funding approval for the new middle school project.

With an expectation to begin construction in the spring of this year, the project is now able to file construction bid papers, which should be completed at the end of the month, said Michael Johanning of WBRC Architects and Engineers.

In 2019, voters approved spending $71.6 million on the new middle school and traffic upgrades. The middle school project will receive $59.2 million in state funding.

The building is to replace Mahoney and Memorial middle schools, hosting grades five through eight, and will be located on the Memorial Middle School site on Wescott Road, said information from the Middle School Projects Committee.

This is the first publicly funded school in South Portland, Kunin said.

“It’s been a long time coming, and as far as I can tell, this is the largest public construction project dollar-wise in this history of South Portland and the first publicly funded school, with 84 percent of the funds for the school coming from the state of Maine,” he said.

Currently, the project is on track for its goal of completion for fall of 2023, Johanning said.

“I think we’re in really good shape with the schedule, and we also have a very good list of pre-qualified general contractors who are going to be bidding on the contract as well,” he said.

Johanning presented a collection of art that will go into different sections of the building, contributed by a group of four artists.

There will be a few milestone celebrations during the construction process, including an opportunity for people to sign a piece of the upper most steel, Johanning said.

“As the project moves along, we’ll have some milestone pieces that I hope folks can check in on,” he said.

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