New Maine High School on Target for February Opening

By Lisa Kopochinski

BATH, Maine — The new $75 million Morse High School in Bath remains on budget and schedule for completion this December, with the grand opening slated for February 2021.

The new school—which will span nearly 190,000 square feet—will replace the century-old Morse High School.

In November 2017, Regional School Unit 1 voters approved a construction bond by a 3-1 margin. The state is funding $67.4 million of the $75.3 million cost; $7.2 million is to be paid locally through borrowing, with $700,000 earmarked from fundraising.

Harvey Construction of Bedford, New Hampshire, is building the new structure, and Topsham-based Crooker Construction is handling sitework.

RU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said, in a statement, that work has been constant and that workers are practicing social distancing within the building.

“Harvey Construction checks on them as they arrive, to keep an eye on the health and safety of everybody there.”

Steve August, chairman of the RSU 1 Board of Directors, said he is satisfied with the progress, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In spite of all the disruption that’s out there…. at present things seem to be progressing.”

The building, which will incorporate the Bath Regional Career & Technical Center, is approximately 20,000 square feet larger than the 1920s-era Morse High and neighboring technical center combined. The city will take ownership of the original 826 High St. school, and is considering options for reusing the building.

The new school will accommodate 650 students, and include two gyms and two athletic fields, in addition to an enhanced theater.

At present, floor slabs for first-floor classrooms, and auditorium and balcony have been placed; and masonry work is underway, along with roof-to-wall sealing, and installation of skylight wells over the gym and other parts of the building.

RSU 1 is due in December to assume occupancy of the building, and classes are to begin there after February vacation.

August said although RSU 1 had hoped to start immediately after Christmas break, the extra month allows faculty more time to coordinate classroom schedules and the demands of the move, August said.

“It should work well for the students, additionally,” he noted.