ANSON — School Administrative District 74 Superintendent Ken Coville remembers longtime English teacher Patricia Reid for her use of one word: “but.”

“Every time Patty would speak with me she would begin our conversations saying, ‘Now understand, I will do anything you ask me to,’ and then there would be that little word, ‘but,'” said Coville, recalling his days as a principal in the school district on Friday. “The thing was, every time I heard those words, it would be followed by something that ended up convincing me maybe I wasn’t quite on target.

“Every time Patty came to see me it was with helpful advice in a professional, respectful way and it always improved things,” he said.

On Friday Coville and other members of the community at Carrabec High School gathered for a ceremony dedicating a new library to Reid, who retired in June after 44 years as an English teacher at the school.

The Reid Library is part of a $4.5 million renovation that was recently completed at Carrabec funded by two bonds and a small amount of federal funding for technology and communications in schools. The renovations include a new roof over the school’s gymnasium, new walls and ceilings in every classroom, new tiles in the hallway and new heating and electrical systems that officials say will make the building more efficient.

The library, formerly tucked away off a hallway, is now at the entrance of the school.

It is bright and colorful with orange and green walls and rows of neatly stacked books.

“It’s one gorgeous school,” said Reid, 68, of Skowhegan, as she accepted a plaque from Principal Regina Campbell. “I’ve always been proud of Carrabec and this community, but this school is just the best I’ve ever seen. It is beautiful.”

Reid attended the ceremony with her two sons, Amos Reid, also of Skowhegan, and Jonathan Hale, who came from Washington, D.C., for the dedication.

“Some people go to work and leave work behind when they come home,” Amos Reid said. “My mother wasn’t one of them. We always heard all her stories and everything that went on. She really cared about every aspect of the school and it inspired us.”

Others who attended the ceremony, including faculty, staff and former students of Reid’s, said she will be missed at the school.

“With upwards of 40 years of service and dedication to Carrabec, she has touched many, many of us in a number of ways,” said Campbell, who also noted Reid’s love of books, her support for Carrabec’s sports teams and a tradition she had of always taking her senior students to the Heritage House Restaurant in Skowhegan for dinner at the end of the school year.

Dallas Landry, an English teacher at the school who has taught alongside Reid for 30 years, said he probably would never have become a teacher if she had not encouraged him while he was doing substitute work early in his career.

“She coaxed me into it. She said, ‘You’re good at this,'” Landry said. “So I blame her for everything,” he added jokingly.

Ian Miller, a former student of Reid’s who is now a freshman at the University of Maine, said many students were intimidated by Reid because she held them to a high standard.

“She expected a lot out of her students,” said Miller, 18. “I remember that she was very keen on making sure we were prepared for college and I know now that I am.”

Coville said Reid is the only teacher to have worked at the high school for the entire history of the building, which opened in 1979.

The upgrades are the first significant improvements the building has seen in its 36-year history.

Over the next 15 years, residents in the school district will repay the two bonds that were used to finance the renovations. The Qualified Zone Academy Bond, which covers $2 million of the renovations, provides a federal subsidy in the form of an interest-free bond that residents will repay at a rate of $132,000 per year for 15 years, Coville said.

A second bond, called a performance contract bond, was approved by the school board in May and is also scheduled to be paid back over 15 years. That bond will be paid back through the energy savings generated from electrical and heating upgrades.

Finally, the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, commonly known as e-rate, will cover 80 percent of the cost of technology and communications upgrades associated with re-wiring of the school building.

The cost for the re-wiring was about $50,000, and about $40,000 of that will be covered by the federal money. The rest was included in the most recent school budget.

Coville said savings associated with the bonds will save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The zero-interest QZAB bond will save the district $388,000 in interest, he said.

“By using the QZAB we avoided close to $400,000 in interest costs,” he said.

Coville said the basic heating system in the building was 35 years old. “They were both highly inefficient and very costly to maintain because they were 35 years old and beyond their usable life,” he said.

As part of the renovations, all of the heating systems were replaced and the entire electrical system of the school was upgraded with new lighting systems installed in all classrooms and hallways.

The school also has a new monitorable computer control system to monitor electrical and heating demands, and all classrooms have occupancy sensors, which keep the ventilation system and heat on when the room is occupied and automatically turns it off when it is empty.

“I think it’s the most gorgeous place,” Reid said. “It’s fluid. It’s colorful. I think it will be a wonderful learning environment.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm