ROCKLAND – Board members of the Midcoast School of Technology (Region 8) and officials were treated to a tour of the construction site for the new school building at 1 North Main Street in Rockland. The school is scheduled to be completed by June 2019 and will accept students that fall.
Structural steel is going up and the $25 million building is 25 percent complete. The two-story structure will house classrooms and administrative offices for MCST.
Beth Fisher said the existing school is 57,000 square feet and the new school will increase its foot print to 97,000 square feet.
"Right now we have six welding booths and we can only accept 12 students at a time and put two to students a booth," she said. "In our new building we'll put in 12 booths right away and then expand to 16."
In the existing building, some classes dedicated to industrial arts are on top of each other and share a lot of dust and noise.
"You have people who are trying to teach theory in the classroom and right next to them are people using grinders," said Fisher. "It's hard to concentrate. It's going to be very nice to have some noise containment. There will also be state-of-the art ventilation systems that the current school does not have."
The old MCST building will be torn down once the new building is complete, and its space will be converted to a parking lot.
"The auto repair shop, the auto and marine tech shops will have their own garage doors," said Fisher. "We have to be able to bring in 40-foot-long pieces of steel for welding. In the carpentry shop we build small buildings and we need to be able to roll them out of a set of double doors. Everything we do is a lot more then just teaching in a classroom."
There will be four auto lifts in the auto repair area.
Fisher said the new building will be heated and cooled with a geothermic system. The new system will use glycol so it never freezes.
"We are going to dig 40 wells, 400 feet deep," she said. "The wells will be dug in the front of the current building. Then, of course, all the plumbing has to go in and piped through the building. We'll have a backup propane boiler, but hopefully we'll get the majority of our energy this way."
Fisher said down the road they would like to add solar panels to the roof, but they “have to finish what we are doing first,” she said.
Once the new building is completed, the real work begins: Move classrooms and equipment into the new building.