Voters at the RSU 21 District Budget Meeting May 16 approved the transfer of existing funds for renovations to the athletic complex, which means the project will commence in June after classes are finished for the year. The district operating budget faces a validation vote June 14, as part of the two-step approval process. CHA Architects Image/Courtesy RSU 21

KENNEBUNK ­ – Voters at the Regional School Unit 21 budget meeting Monday approved the transfer of existing funds for a new athletic complex and approved all articles in the district’s proposed $54 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The proposed operating budget faces a further ballot test, the second part of the district’s approval process. On June 14, voters in Arundel, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport will cast votes on whether to validate the budget voters approved on Monday evening.

Passage of Article 19, which authorized a transfer of $2.8 million from existing fund balances to the district’s capital reserve fund means the athletic complex renovation will begin in June soon after students have finished the current school year.

The existing funds, plus $1.2 million left from a construction project and $250,000 previously allocated but not spent on track repairs, all contribute to the $4.3 million project.

The renovation includes a six-lane oval, eight-lane sprint, all-weather track. Memorial Field would be replaced with a multi-purpose all-weather field for soccer, football, field hockey and lacrosse, allowing increased student and community use, according to RSU 21 officials. There will be a new grass practice field with relocated track and field throwing-event facilities. The project includes replacement ADA compliant fixed seating for 550-plus portable bleacher capacity for 800. It also includes LED field lights that reduce light spillage, cut energy costs, and provide an even illumination of the playing field with reduced maintenance.

RSU 21 board chair Art LeBlanc said there was concerns expressed by some at the district meeting about the artificial turf, including its recyclability, toxicity and additives.


He said the turf system contains no materials on the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicity listings, the turf will have heavy infill that reduces concussions, and the district has selected a top quality surface.

“We’ve done the diligence to find the safest field for our students,” he told the attendees.

LeBlanc on Tuesday recalled when Superintendent Terri Cooper first arrived at the district in 2020, she toured the athletic complex with the board.

“She said we need to fix this and that was the start of this process,” LeBlanc said.

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