The Dike Newell School in Bath after a fire broke out on June 10, 2022. Maria Skillings / The Times Record file photo

Bath-area school officials this week will meet with a Maine Board of Education committee to continue discussions on the future of the burned-down Dike Newell School.

The Bath school was heavily damaged in an arson fire June 10, 2022, according to police. Since then, the school’s roughly 225 students were moved to temporary classrooms at the former Bath Regional Career and Technical Center, which school officials and local lawmakers have said isn’t a long-term solution.

Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said he and other school officials will meet with the Board of Education’s School Construction Committee Friday morning in Augusta.

“Our hope is (the committee) will make a recommendation and that the full state board will be comfortable in voting on what the next step is with Dike Newell,” Manuel said at Monday’s RSU 1 board meeting. “We’ve waited quite a while for this.”

The board could agree to allocate state funding for the rebuilding of the Dike Newell School or — as RSU 1 officials prefer — the construction of a new school that would combine students from Dike Newell and Bath’s Fisher Mitchell Elementary School.

The state’s 2017-2018 Capital School Construction Fund list, which outlines the top candidates for subsidized school construction projects, had Dike Newell ranked 50th out of 74 schools. Fisher Mitchell was ranked 22nd.


Dike Newell serves students in pre-kindergarten through second grade, while Fisher Mitchell serves about 200 students in grades three through five.

“From a financial standpoint and education standpoint, building a pre-K to (grade) five school makes more sense looking forward,” Manuel previously said.

The technical center building was abandoned two years ago when the center moved to its new home alongside the new Morse High School on Shipbuilder Drive. The old building’s boiler heating system is out-of-date, students drink bottled water because lead levels have not been tested in the water system and the playground is by the busy High Street downtown, creating possible safety issues for students, according to State Sen. Eloise Vitelli, a Democrat whose district includes Bath.

The toilets and sinks at the old technical center are adult-sized, making step stools necessary for students. The old Morse High School cafeteria is used as a cafeteria and for physical education classes. The library does not have shelves, so books are stored in bins. The community raised $10,000 for books and musical instruments for the students.

Vitelli has said the state Board of Education should designate building a new elementary school in Bath an emergency project that’s in “dire” need of financial assistance.

“I admire the administration and faculty who have creatively turned this old building into classrooms that deliver a range of services and meet diverse needs,” Vitelli said in a recent statement. “I’m also deeply impressed by the outpouring of support from the community. … But it’s not enough. These students cannot stay here forever. It’s unsafe and unsuitable for their learning.”

Manuel told the RSU 1 board Monday the old technical center building is the “best option” as a temporary space for students. A possible construction schedule on a new school remained unclear pending a determination by the state Board of Education.

“This is going to take some time,” Manuel said.

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