In addition to electing a pair of town councilors and two School Committee members, Gorham voters Nov. 2 will decide whether to authorize the School Department to spend cash in hand to fix failing heat pumps at the middle school.

Voters will be asked to OK spending an additional $819,000 to repair the geothermal heat pumps at the 18-year-old school. Voters in November 2020 approved borrowing $2.26 million for the repairs, but that amount fell short when bids came in.

The estimated cost has risen to $3.1 million, but additional borrowing won’t be necessary. The School Department dug up balance needed from this year’s state subsidy increase and from an undesignated fund balance, but it can’t spend that money without voter authorization.

The middle school HVAC system has 130 heat pumps. One caught fire in 2014. Superintendent Heather Perry last month described the project as “critical.”

Town Clerk Laurie Nordfors said she expects a low turnout, but a statewide referendum could bring more voters to the polls.

“There is quite an interest in Question 1 on the state ballot,” Nordfors said. “I have sent out over 900 absentee ballots, so that is very high for an off-season election.”


Question 1 on the state ballot deals with Central Maine Power’s plan to build a transmission line for hydroelectric power from Canada through Maine to Massachusetts.

In the Town Council race, incumbents Lee Pratt and Virginia Wilder Cross face challengers Philip Gagnon Jr. and Paul Smith for two three-year seats on the seven-member board.

Political newcomer Liesl Turner hopes to unseat one of the two School Committee incumbents, Anne Schools or Darryl Wright for a three-year term.

Polls will be open in Gorham from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 2. Polling locations are Ward 1-1, Gorham Middle School; Ward 1-2, Great Falls Elementary School; and Ward 2, Shaw Gym at the municipal center.

For more information, call the town clerk’s office at 222-1670.

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