Planners give thumbs up to school gym expansion

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by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members have unanimously approved an enlargement of the China Middle School gymnasium. RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 Superintendent Carl Gartley said he hopes work will start as soon as school ends in June and be mostly done when school reopens in September, though it might run into October.

At the Feb. 26 China Planning Board meeting, Gartley, engineer Blaine Buck, of Cordjia Capital Projects Group, and architect Mike Sealander, of Sealander Architects, presented project plans.

The addition will be on the west side of the gym, toward Lakeview Drive. It will run the length of the existing building, about 86 feet, and extend the building west about 26 feet. Sealander said it will cover the existing grass strip, but will not affect parking; the existing sidewalk will probably be “chewed up during construction,” but it will be replaced.

The new space will house a new stage, two teachers’ offices and a practice room, plus a storage room and under-the-stage chair storage. There will be room for bleachers in front of the new stage.

The present stage and related rooms will become boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and provide additional bathrooms and a shower that Sealander sees being welcomed by referees.

Gartley said the middle school building is slated for additional work as separate projects, including providing LED lighting indoors and outdoors, repairing the roof and updating the air handling system. Funding will come from the RSU #18 bond issue voters approved in 2018, he said.

Planning board members decided they did not need to hold a public hearing before acting on the application. Gartley commented that redoing the gym has been discussed informally in town for many years, and Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo observed that there was no audience at the board meeting.

Review of the ordinance criteria found the project meets all of them. Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said he is satisfied it also meets requirements of China’s Phosphorus Control Ordinance.

The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, March 26, unless Mitnik receives one or more applications (he does not anticipate any) in time to schedule a March 12 meeting.


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