Waterville school forum postponed after storm damaged property of key official

Waterville School Facilities Devastation Director Doug Frame’s homestead in Belgrade from Wednesday’s destructive storm forced the postponement of a public forum scheduled for Thursday evening on school building plans, the superintendent said.

The forum was scheduled to discuss a controversial proposal to build an addition of $ 6.12 million to Waterville Junior High School to accommodate fourth and fifth year students. Some parents urged authorities to consider building an annex at George J. Mitchell School rather than college, saying it was more appropriate to keep school-aged children together.

Frame, who is responsible for the upkeep of all school buildings and properties, was to be an integral part of the presentation and question-and-answer session at Thursday night’s forum, which was scheduled for 6 p.m. ‘Trask Auditorium at Waterville High School. . Storms that swept through central Maine late Wednesday afternoon brought violent gusts of wind and torrential rains, toppling trees in the area and cutting power to nearly 2,000 people.

Schools Superintendent Eric Haley and Financial Director Paula Pooler said on Thursday morning that Frame had reported that there was a power outage on the Belgrade property, downed trees and blocked roads. It should take days to clean up the mess, they said.

Haley said around 8 a.m. he informed parents and others of the forum postponement via a recorded phone message.

“I just made a robocall and said our hope was to reschedule it next week,” Haley said.

Luke Brooks-Shesler, a parent of two elementary school students, said Thursday he understands the reasons for the postponement of the forum.

“Obviously, from my point of view, if the community forum cannot take place today because of the storms in Belgrade, then we obviously have to take care of these people and hope that people recover from the storm,” said he said Thursday.

Brooks-Shesler said it’s not important the forum is rescheduled, as long as it’s done within a reasonable timeframe. “We need to attend a forum when it is possible for everyone to be present and when natural disasters occur, there is nothing we can do,” he said.

The Waterville School Board must approve any plans proposed by the district for students at Albert S. Hall School.

At a board meeting on Monday, Brooks-Shelser and other parents asked about the proposal to build a college addition during the public comments section of the agenda. They said they were asking questions that they believed would help school officials prepare for the public forum, which school board members are not required to attend.

He also expressed concern that the proposal to build an addition to the college seemed quite advanced and parents were unaware the process was underway. While some board members said they have yet to fully discuss the proposal, they spoke about it recently in an executive session.

Education Council President Joan Phillips-Sandy said she contacted all board members, saying she hoped they would attend the public forum in person or virtually.

“I wrote them down and encouraged them to do it,” she said.

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