Discussion begins on renaming Mary E. Taylor building
Camden-Rockport School Board OKs $4.1 million MET repurposing contract
Thu, 10/22/2020 - 9:30pm
CAMDEN — Voting unanimously Oct. 21, the Camden-Rockport School Board approved signing a $4,130,815 contract with Ledgewood Construction, of South Portland, to renovate the Mary E. Taylor building. Bids for the project had been opened Oct. 20, and Ledgewood’s base bid, one of eight, came in $140,339 less than the next lowest bid that had been submitted by The Penobscot Company, with headquarters in Rockport.
At the same meeting, the board began a conversation about changing the name of the former middle school building, constructed in 1925, beginning with a suggested new name of Rose Hall, in honor of the retiring Maintenance Director Keith Rose.
While the board members each spoke highly of Rose, and said they weren’t opposed to changing the name of the school building to reflect a more contemporary community citizen, they also agreed that the public needs to weigh in on the idea.
They voted unanimously to rename the Mary E. Taylor school, yet to be determined. And, the board agreed to present the renaming intention to the public for a community conversation.
School Administrative District 28 Superintendent Maria Libby told the board, which convened for its meeting in the new Camden-Rockport Middle School on Knowlton Street, that the bid opening for the MET project was “very exciting.”
“We had eight contractor bids,” she reported. “Coincidentally enough. Ledgwood is the lowest bid.”
Ledgewood is the contractor that won the bid for constructing the new $32 million middle school, finished just at the beginning of the 2020 School Year.
All the bids included three alternates, which added costs for windows, sidewalks and electric duct heaters.
“Tomorrow, people will be mobilizing to start the project,” said Libby.
The base bids included:
Ledgewood Construction, $4,130,815
The Penobscot Company, $4,271,154
Ganneston Construction, $4,410,450
Sheridan Corp., $4,427,951
Blane Casey, $4,435,045
Bowman Constructors, $4,529,520
Lajoie Brothers, $4,560,835
At the Oct. 21 meeting, Libby also opened a discussion about renaming the MET building. She said the topic was back on the agenda for a second time since Spring 2020.
Does the board want to change the name of the building, she asked. If so, toss around some possibilities.
“ The time is upon us to make decision about the name in the next few months,” said Libby.
She told the board that she had suggested in 2019 to rename the building Rose Hall, in recognition, “of all the work Keith Rose has done in our district.”
Rose, who is has been maintenance director for more than a decade in SAD 28 and the Five Town CSD, is retiring, she said.
The name, Libby said, flows nicely and the front of the building would be accented by rose bushes.
“It [the building] has a new life and new use,” said Libby.
Buildings change names when their functions change, she said.
Board member Marcia Dietrich, of Rockport, noted Rose’s contributions and achievements, both at the high school, with its myriad energy problems addressed soon after it opened in Year 2000, and the other school buildings in the districts.
Other board members, however, said the renaming would represent a two-part discussion, and not to be resolved at that Oct 21 meeting.
Chairman Patrick McCafferty said that while he was a traditionalist and attended the MET school himself, he also understood the impetus for change.
For 100 years, the building honored a powerful administrator, he said, “and honored her well.”
But, he added, he would not be opposed, “to honoring someone in our generation, especially one who really pushed us on the path of sustainability.”
Likewise, other board members said they did not have strong opinions. One suggested ensuring that a affixing plaque inside the new MET dedicated to Mary E. Taylor would be a good ida.
“I’m absolutely in favor in renaming it,” said board member Peter Orne.
But, he said, doing it at the Oct. 21 meeting, “seems rushed.”
The board then agreed on the motion to rename it to a different name, yet to be determined.
“It’s so dear and important to the community, and we would not want to move forward without giving the community a heads-up,” said McCafferty.
Libby said the district would write an announcement to the community, “to reveal the intention of the board and allow people to respond.”