A schematic design of the common area to be shared by the Cape Elizabeth elementary and middle schools, which includes a cafeteria and auditorium on the lower level. Contributed / Town of Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth’s school building project is expected to cost about $126.5 million, according to the latest plan.

Over $39.1 million will go to the new elementary school, $51.8 million for the middle school, and $14.8 million for common areas for both schools, such as a gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium. Another $9.5 million is allocated for site work and athletic fields, and nearly $4.5 million is earmarked for renovations at the high school.

“If we continue with the car analogy that has been used throughout the process, we’re asking for like a Honda here,” School Board Vice Chairperson Heather Altenburg said Tuesday at a public forum. “We’re not asking for the Porsche or the Rolls-Royce. The total number would be a lot higher in that case.”

The school department in March said it expected building a new elementary and middle school, which now are in the same building, would come with a price tag of between $108 million and $142 million.

Plans call for the oldest part of the existing building, built in 1933, to be closed and preserved, at a cost of $544,000.

“There is some money in there to kind of close up the 1933 building to make it a standalone building once again,” said Hannah Lilly of Colby Company Engineering. “We took direction from both the school district and the town that it’s important to keep that building, to keep it standing.”


An additional $6.2 million would be set aside for contingency costs in case there are any hiccups or increased construction costs as the project rolls on.

“It just gives wiggle room for fluctuations in time or costs or if something goes wrong and it needs to be fixed,” Altenburg said. “There’s the potential to use it, there’s the potential to not. We’ll probably use at least some of it.”

A floorplan for the proposed new school building project Contributed / Town of Cape Elizabeth

The two multi-story buildings connected by a terrace would include larger classrooms and share a cafeteria, gymnasium and auditorium.

Classrooms would be built in “pods” around small conference rooms and prep areas and storage spaces. A wellness space would include offices for school councilors, a nurse and a psychologist and security personnel.

One thing students and teachers have called for, committee members said, was more natural light, and the schematic designs account for that with windows strategically placed to let in more sunlight.

“I’ve only been at Pond Cove since the end of November,” said teacher Leesa Joiner. “I came from a classroom with no windows, and I’ll tell you, not only do students learn better but teachers feel better when there’s some (natural) light.”

The window placement also factors into the project’s emphasis on energy efficiency. With more natural light, electricity likely will be used less frequently. The new building is also planned to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient in other capacities as well, from a solar roof power system to up-to-date insulation that will cut heating and cooling costs.

The Town Council and School Board are scheduled to hold a joint workshop on the project Tuesday, July 26. If given council approval in August, the project is expected to go to a citizen vote at the November election.

Comments are not available on this story.