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 — The council and school board held a joint workshop on the Cape Elizabeth’s school building project. The project is expected to cost around $126.5 million. Currently the elementary school and middle school share the same building.

The purpose of the workshop is to review the new schools building project and draft language for a bond referendum in November. Around $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 of the schools.

The common areas will include a gymnasium, cafeteria, and an auditorium. An additional $9.5 million is allocated for site work and athletic fields, and $4.5 million is for renovations at the high school. The improvements will include a new video safety management system at all three town schools, humidity control improvements at the high school gym, and replacing an electrical panel at the high school.

The new building project would replace the elementary and middle school buildings. It will also include renovations and upgrades to the high school. 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, prep areas and storage spaces. A wellness space would include offices for school councilors, a school nurse, a psychologist and security personnel. 

“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 new building is also planned to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. It will include a solar roof power system and insulation that will cut heating and cooling costs.


An additional $6.2 million would be set aside for contingency costs in case there are any hiccups or increased constructions costs as the project progresses. The site of the new school was unanimously endorsed by the Building Oversight Committee.

“This is very distinct; this has nothing to do with the school building project. We would be doing this anyway,” Superintendent Chris Record said in an earlier statement. “Right now, we have these buildings as they are. We have students and staff in them, and we need to make improvements on safety.”  

Cape Elizabeth Town Council voted unanimously on April 11 to approve two separate bond order requests from the Cape Elizabeth School Board. The first bond order, for $1,161,082, is to finance a School Revolving Renovation Fund for 10 separate school improvement projects at all three schools. The bond will be used by the state of Maine’s SRRF Program. 

If the council approves in August, the project is expected to go to a citizen vote at the November referendum.   The council held a public hearing on the proposed bond at the regular council meeting on Aug. 8, with the expectation that the council will be prepared to vote on the bond language at a special meeting Aug. 22.


Comments are not available on this story.