BAHS Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

posted Aug 28, 2019, 3:40 AM by RSU71 Webmaster

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony 

Recognizing the Completion of the Belfast Area High School

Construction and Renovation Project

Monday, August 26, 2019, at 1:00 pm

Greetings, I’m Mary Alice McLean and honoured to be RSU 71’s Superintendent of Schools.  I am elated to welcome you to the ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing the substantial completion of the 7.6 million dollar construction and renovation of Belfast Area High School, a project that will uplift and elevate the experiences of our beloved students and families and their dedicated staff.

The course of the project, which was still being finalized when I arrived as BAHS principal during the summer of 2016 has entailed:

 Substantial Renovation:

  • Kitchen

  • Cafeteria

  • Lobby

  • Restrooms

  • Canopy and Entrance

  • Pool

  • Locker-Rooms

  • Home Ec Room

  • Special Education Wing into which the Central Office and Adult Ed have just recently moved


New Construction:

  • New Math Wing

  • New Special Education Classrooms housing our Day Treatment and Lifeskills Classrooms

After this brief speech, you are all invited to:

  •  Celebrate with ice-cream and frozen treats under the canopy at the entrance

  • Walkthrough and take a look at the new and renovated spaces within the high school.

But first I’d like to thank a good many people:

First I’d like to thank the RSU 71 community for supporting the work of this very important transformation of our flagship school, the school to which all our children from the towns Swanville, Morrill, Belmont, Searmont and the city of Belfast come to learn and to grow.  I thank our residents and their families, our many community partners, the voters, the selectmen and women of the towns, our city councillors and mayor, and all municipal employees. We heartily thank each and every one of you.

Second: We have a truly fabulous school board now and in the past, while plans were being drawn up and developed.  In American Public Education, the school board is the governing body of each school district. Being a school board member is a lot of work, is very time-consuming and is sometimes thankless. We are very lucky indeed to have had such stellar leadership during the first few years of the still relatively young RSU # 71.  Many and heartfelt thanks go to school board members past and present:

Caitlin Hills - Chair

Jess Woods - Assistant Chair

David Crabiel - Former Chair

Charlie Gray

Scott Cournoyer

Steve Hopkins

Josh Solebello

Catherine Robbins-Halsted

Jean Dube

Allison Goscinski - former Assistant Chair

Evie deFrees

Fred Black

Kate Bowles

Bernadette Dutra and 

Laura Newsom

Third, I’d like to heartily thank the first Superintendent to see the new RSU # 71 underway and to work very hard to get the project planned and approved by the voters. Dr Paul Knowles is owed a debt of gratitude from all of us today.

Next, I’d like to thank our talented architectural firm under the leadership of Michael Johanning.  Many thanks to the designers and engineers, the interior design Jenifer Richards and the Clerk of the Works Ben Stoodley.  I love how the renovation and new look and how elevated and well-supported it makes the students and staff and community feel about themselves and their future prospects. The RSU 71 community is one that truly cares about its youth and our collective future.

You can’t have new demolition, construction and renovation without somebody overseeing the bazillion moving parts and sub-contractors that go into making it happen.  Our general contractor has been The Penobscot Company overseen by Dave Nazaroff and his wife and keenly assisted by Rob Mattes and a large crew. They have been with us through thick and thin and through the inevitable challenges of a project of this scope.  Many thanks to Dave and Rob and the whole team.

Finally, I must acknowledge the patience and understanding of students and staff throughout the project.  Getting to the point of achieving such grand plans can be a gargantuan distraction to the business of teaching and learning -- it can be noisy and dusty, and on the way to being beautiful everything can look pretty dreary and dismal and feel like it is never going to be actually done. Thanks to the entire faculty and staff at the high school.  Thanks especially to the math department who spent two years displaced and rolling their classroom materials around on carts and also special thanks go to the staff and students in the day treatment and life-skills classes, and our science and home economics teacher, who bore the brunt of the noise.  Special thanks must also be directed to:

  •  Chandra Hodgdon our fabulous Director of Finance who was in command of every single penny that has gone into this project, to 

  • Jake Gurney our Director of Maintenance and Transportation, and to our interim Director Scott Packard -- who filled in while we were getting Jake on board -- for the care and excellent communication around this project, 

  • to our Director of Technology Dr Dave Fournier and his brilliant assistant in all things involving lines and phones and technology systems Kerry Lord.

Ribbon-Cutting:  Caitlin Hills, Jess Woods, David Crabiel and Charlie Grey

Continue the celebration with ice-cream (under the canopy) and an Open House of the new and renovated portions of the building.