The question before Regional School District No. 1 in Maine was whether to renovate and expand Morse High School in Bath, or build a new facility on the site.
The answer, provided in a study from an engineering firm, was "neither."
The report from Fay, Spofford and Thorndike, concluded that the site of the existing high school was inadequate for expansion or new construction.
"The existing site...is unsuitable due to the limits on the physical area available for expansion of the school resulting from sheer lack of land," the study says. "Splitting some of the site program with another site still leaves insufficient area at the existing site for even the basic program."
The report says that the existing Morse High site is about 4.36 acres. But after examining the district's program needs for a new high school and technical center, the engineering firm determined the site would need to be 35 to 50 acres.
The high school now has 124,595 square feet of building space along with an another 42,960 square feet allocated to the Bath Regional Career & Technical Center. The typical program size for comparable high school/technical center campuses is more than 220,000 square feet.
The site "contains only the building educational programming, and there are no athletic fields or related support facilities on the property," the engineers found. "The ability to enlarge the site by acquisition of nearby parcels is also significantly limited."
The Bangor Daily News reports that RSU 1 is considering other potential sites for a new high school and that the district is likely to hold a public hearing later this year to gauge the community's views on how to move forward.