Work is on schedule for the fall opening of South Portland’s $69.3 million consolidated middle school for grades 5-8, as is the demolition of the adjacent Memorial Middle School in June.

A “Farewell Memorial” open house at Memorial Middle School on Wescott Road will be held on May 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. A “Final Assembly” at Mahoney Middle School on Ocean Street will be held June 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Staff and alumni of the schools, and members of the broader South Portland community, are invited.

“The central office is moving directly from our current building into the new building June 1,” Memorial Principal Rebecca Stern told The Forecaster.

Demolition of Memorial will take place soon after and the site will become the new bus loop.

“Then all the furniture and the school belongings will show up over the summer,” Stern said. “The plan is for all of us to be able to be in the building in late August, in time for kids to arrive.”

Consolidating the two existing grade 6-8 middle schools and bringing in fifth graders from the city’s five elementary schools, for a total of between 850 and 900 students, takes a lot of collaboration, Stern said, but the new South Portland Middle School will benefit the whole community.


“We’re able to really look at our programming, our instructional model, the way we approach climate and culture,” Stern said. “We can be thoughtful and intentional about how we want to merge families and community culture from all over South Portland into one building.”

The school will be the city’s first “community school,” based on a model that uses a coordinated approach involving families, social service organizations and others to provide needed resources.

On a tour of the building Wednesday, architect Mike Johanning highlighted a number of safety measures that have become standard in modern schools, from how visitors can only enter the front office to the way classrooms and entire wings can be locked in the case of an emergency.

The school’s modern infrastructure has made it energy efficient, Johanning said. For example, the 532 solar panels on the roof and exterior walls will generate an estimated 180 kilowatts of power, and rainwater collected on site will be used to irrigate the adjacent sports fields.

South Portland residents overwhelmingly approved the consolidated middle school project in 2019, voting 3,234 to 962 to replace Memorial Middle School, built in 1967, and Mahoney Middle School, which first opened in 1924 as the city’s high school before becoming a middle school in the 1950s. The Mahoney building will be turned over to the city, which as yet has announced no plans for its use.

While most of the plans for the new middle school were cemented long ago, there’s one major decision that has yet to be made.

“All of the kids’ classes are in the process of designing a mascot and submitting it to a selection committee,” Stern said. “The selection committee will send back the top choices for all of the kids to vote on it, so we’ll see what they decide is the new mascot for South Portland Middle School.”

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