The plan for the first floor of the proposed preK-Grade 1 school on the Greely campus is at right, with two options for gym sizes marked with red arrows. At the left is the plan for the second floor of the project. Contributed / SAD 51

The SAD 51 School Board voted 9-1 last week to move forward with plans to build a preK-Grade 1 school on a 2.9-acre parcel at the Greely campus.

The $53.5 million project to be sent to voters in Cumberland and North Yarmouth also includes $3,047,000 for a turf athletic field at the high school, along with funding for a new maintenance building, four additional classrooms and improvements at Mabel I. Wilson School, and road configuration, traffic and parking updates.

“In the interest of being prudent and fiscally responsible, we’re asking the voters now for an addition of four classrooms,” Superintendent Jeff Porter told the board March 18. “There is a site at MIW right off of the old kindergarten wing that is already ready for an addition.”

The school board will decide April 1 on a date for a referendum.

“I think this is the choice for the community long term,” Porter said.

He said Tuesday that he did not yet know the impact on property taxes of borrowing for the new school, but hoped to have those figures in hand soon.


The price tag for the on-campus project is $23.9 million less than the cost of an earlier proposal, overwhelmingly defeated at the polls in 2022, for a preK-Grade 2 school on Gray Road in North Yarmouth. Porter said the annual operating costs will be 40% less.

The new school will be anywhere from 73,400 to 74,500 square feet, depending on the size of the gym.

Construction would last approximately 18 months and impact will be minimal, Porter said. Construction vehicles would be kept off the campus while school is in session.

“Is this plan perfect? No,” board Chair Leanne Candura said. “But I believe that this is a proposal that our communities can approve and be proud of.”

Board member Denny Gallaudet abstained from voting, saying he was neither for nor against the proposal. Board member Tim Valenti cast the lone vote against the project because of the addition of the turf field to the project budget. He cited concerns about the material makeup and safety of turf fields.

“It’s a lot for us to throw in tonight,” Valenti said. “I’m not ready to throw it in with the overall budget.”


During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Stephanie Durant, who said she has a biology degree, said she worries about the impact of potentially hazardous materials, such as PFAs, used in turf fields.

“I’m hoping we can slow down the approval of the turf and do a little more research,” Durant said.

Student athletes spoke in favor of the turf field.

Greely High School football captain Andrew Padgett said not having a turf field puts Greely at a “massive” competitive disadvantage.

“I won’t personally be able to experience playing on a home turf field, but I am pleading with you to consider installing this field for our future athletes,” Padgett said.

This article was edited March 31 to delete an incorrect percentage reference in the cost of the new project vs. the cost of the proposal for a school in North Yarmouth. 

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