District Info‎ > ‎News‎ > ‎

New Edward Little High School Proposed Location Revealed

posted Jun 29, 2018, 11:32 AM by Roz Walton   [ updated Jul 23, 2018, 7:22 AM ]

New Edward Little High School Proposed Location Revealed

Opening Slated for Fall 2023 at Current Site

AUBURN - Following a year of meetings and intensive work, the Auburn School Department Building Committee announced today that it recommends the new Edward Little High School (ELHS) be constructed at the current high school site.

Pending Maine Department of Education (DOE) approval, the state-funded school building, will be constructed on the current ELHS site at 77 Harris Street. The new school is tentatively projected to open in the fall of 2023.

"It is on these slopes that Auburn will build our hopes,” said School Committee and Building Committee Chair Tom Kendall. “United in our quest, we will strive to link learning with life for a future yet imagined."

“This is what our community has been waiting for,” said Superintendent of Schools Katy Grondin. “This day has been a long time coming, and now it’s here. We’re very excited to move ahead in planning a state-of-the-art school that everyone in Auburn can be proud of.”

During the past year, the Building Committee evaluated 47 sites throughout Auburn, including tours of five potential locations that most closely aligned to the selection criteria identified by the community and Maine DOE. In the end, the clear choice was to remain at the site that ELHS has called home since the current building opened in 1961.

At a community forum in August 2017, Auburn residents ranked their top priorities for the new school. The top three criteria to emerge were the ability to locate all athletic fields on one site; proximity to population density; and the ability for the school to act as an economic draw to bring people to Auburn.

“The current site checked off the most boxes on the community’s wish list,” said Building Committee member Beth Favreau.

The current location not only offers proximity to Auburn’s student population, but project architects from Harriman Associates believe  the existing site will be able to accommodate the majority, if not all, of the athletic fields used throughout the year by ELHS student-athletes.

The Building Committee, which embraces the mission to make the school an asset and economic draw for Auburn, will work closely with ELHS staff, the City of Auburn and the community to plan a building that will serve Auburn’s students for decades to come.

"I am eager to move forward with building a site that supports our students and community,” said ELHS Principal Scott Annear. “Our staff is excited to craft a building that meets the needs of our students for today and the future. This is a tremendous opportunity that I am grateful to have a hand in shaping."

The site selection process encompassed more than 50 meetings involving the Building Committee, its subcommittees, the DOE, landowners and state regulatory agencies. During the process, members of the Building Committee visited new public school locations in Maine and Massachusetts to gain a sense of recent initiatives and possibilities in public school construction.

In 2016, the Maine DOE announced that Auburn had been approved for a new high school based on an application submitted in 2011. The project will be fully funded by the State of Maine, with the exception of optional items that will be added locally to the project. These local options are yet to be decided, but could include a performing arts center and artificial turf athletic fields.

The next steps are formal approval by the Auburn School Committee in August, followed by a community meeting and “straw poll” to be held Wednesday, September 5 at Auburn Middle School. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with an informational session beginning at 6 p.m. and the straw poll vote to be held at 7 p.m.

The straw poll is a non-binding vote designed to measure the community’s support for the proposed location. Pending Maine Board of Education site approval this fall, a referendum vote will be scheduled for June 2019 for Auburn voters to authorize the project.

Auburn residents can follow the progress of the new ELHS project at www.auburnschl.edu/home/elhs-building-project. The website includes Building Committee agendas, minutes and presentation materials. Building Committee meetings are open to the public and televised on Great Falls TV.

The ELHS Building Committee includes School Committee members Kendall and Bonnie Hayes; ELHS Principal Annear and teacher Brandy McFadden; community representatives Favreau, Jon Bausman, Leonard Kimble and Sue Mercier; and City Council representatives David Young and Holly Lasagna. City Manager Peter Crichton, Superintendent of Schools Grondin and School Business Manager Adam Hanson serve as ad hoc committee members. The Committee has been assisted throughout the process by Mark Lee, Lisa Sawin, Jeff Larimer and Frank Crabtree of Harriman Associates, a full-service architecture and engineering firm headquartered in Auburn.