Wiscasset school panel puts extra $167k into facilities

Posted:  Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 7:45am

According to Wiscasset School Department officials and Siemens representatives, Wiscasset Middle High School’s temperatures will be getting back under control in the coming months, and some work may be started at Wiscassset Elementary School.

Transportation and Maintenance Director John Merry’s budget grew by $167,516 Tuesday night after he and representatives of the Scarborough firm told the School Committee restoring controls to systems at WMHS would be the best use of funds if the panel put them into facilities. State aid exceeded projections by that amount and the School Committee decided 5-0 to spend it all on the cost center of facilities-maintenance.

The panel had not planned to vote that night but Merry said he would like to leave there knowing an amount so he could start making plans with Siemens. The work on WMHS’ controls will run into September or October, and will include night work, Tom Seekins of Siemens said. Merry said later, the work will not interrupt classes.

He has not determined where some of the money will be spent, but he is looking at how to address hot conditions WES had at the end of the school year, he said.

Superintendent of Schools Heather Wilmot told members, spending the extra state aid required a vote that named a cost center. Vice Chairman Glen Craig said he would also like Merry to be able to tap the $69,500 first budgeted as an energy project payment. That money is already in the budget, so no vote is needed for its use, Wilmot said. Voters rejected the $1.7 million project in June.

Merry thanked the committee and said he would provide an update on the work’s progress.

During public comment later Tuesday night, parent and coach Todd Souza expressed concern about the conditions of playing fields. He said they need seeding and fertilizing and are having a number of issues, including hardness, which can cause concussions, he added.

“We’re in rough shape out there, so if we don’t help John (Merry) with some more funding along the way, we’re going to be playing in a parking lot.” Souza said. Wilmot said she would talk with Merry and athletic director-assistant principal Mandy Lewis.

Also Tuesday night, Wilmot announced John Pyrtek’s resignation as an educational technician at WMHS and Meghan Schofield’s promotion from educational technician to third grade teacher at WES. Other hires for WES included Elizabeth Bodkin, third grade teacher, Ellen Sorensen and Joanne Jones, educational technicians, and Jessie MacDougall, kitchen assistant. At WMHS, Tess Rau will teach Spanish and Marija Randall will teach math.

“We have been really, really busy to make sure we are staffed for the start of the school year,” Wilmot said.