The former Bath Regional Career and Technical Center will be hosting Dike Newell School students in the fall after a fire gutted the elementary school. Maria Skillings / The Times Record.

Contractors are working to transform the old Bath Regional Career and Technical Center by expanding classrooms and updating technology for Dike Newell Elementary School students after their school was severely damaged in a fire in June.

The school district, meanwhile, is awaiting cost estimates for demolishing and rebuilding the preK-2 elementary school.

Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said contractors are building new walls to create additional classrooms and learning areas. Upgrades are being made to the building’s plumbing, heating, alarm systems, security cameras, phones and wireless system.

Contractors will also upgrade classroom technology with projectors, tablets and copiers, according to Manuel.

There is no playground at the Bath tech center, which is geared toward older students, so one is being built.

“We will be creating a new playground for the students for recess, and bringing over some of the current playground equipment,” Manuel previously stated. “We will be offering physical education, which will take place in a bigger space inside, as well as some outside activities.”


Contractors will also transport Dike Newell’s cooking equipment to the former technical school to serve school lunches.

The old technical center building ceased functioning as a school when a new Bath Tech opened in 2021 alongside a new Morse High School at the Wing Farm Business Park.

The roof of Dike Newell Elementary School in Bath burns June 13 in a flare-up. Contributed photo via William Rankis

Dike Newell School was heavily damaged last month after a fire was intentionally set

Allan Thomas Vigil of Bath, who police say set the fire, is at Two Bridges Jail, facing an arson charge — a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Vigil allegedly admitted to police that he started the fire the night of June 11, according to court records.

Investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal, Bath Police Department and Bath Fire Department determined the fire at Dike Newell Elementary started in an art storage room, according to an affidavit. In the kitchen, a knob on the propane kitchen stove was set to the “on” position, allowing free flow of propane gas, according to firefighters.


Two firefighters were injured fighting the blaze and were hospitalized.

While Vigil was in jail, the school fire reignited on June 13, likely due to residual embers, and was extinguished by noon the same day.

The initial fire occurred the weekend before the final week of school. Students finished out the year at the Fisher Mitchell elementary school.

Manuel said the district is currently receiving quotes for the demolition process at Dike Newell.

“We will rebuild but we need to think about short-term needs as well as long-term needs,” said Manuel.

Meanwhile, support from the community keeps coming in. On July 16 community members hosted the “Bee Kind Benefit for Dike Newell” at the Bath Golf Club, raising $17,444 at the golf tournament, silent auction, bake sale and barbecue.

Manuel said Dike Newell has raised an additional $7,500 using an online donation box with “some outstanding donations, still to come.”

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