AUGUSTA — A proposal to seek state funding to replace Lillian Park Hussey Elementary School is going to the school board for a vote at a special meeting Thursday.

School officials have sought state school construction funding once before for Hussey, which was built in 1954.

In 2010-2011, the Hussey application for state school construction funding was ranked 17th on the state school funding priority list. The state ended up funding 16 projects, leaving Augusta just shy of making the cut.

The next state school construction funding cycle is coming up in 2017-2018, with a new priority list expected to be released in the summer of 2018, according to Rachel Paling, director of communications for the state Department of Education.

From that list, Paling said, the Department of Education, its commissioner and the state Board of Education will decide which schools will get funding, based upon variables including the amount of money made available for school construction projects.

The highest-ranked project on the 2010-2011 priority list, Regional School Unit 64’s Morison Memorial School, was approved by the state Board of Education in 2012. The last approved project on the 2010-2011 priority list, Auburn School Department’s Edward Little High School, was approved for funding by the state Board of Education in 2016.


Augusta Superintendent James Anastasio and other school administrators could not be reached Tuesday for comment about the Hussey proposal.

However, at a March 1 school board meeting during a discussion about the school budget, John Pucciarelli, director of buildings and grounds, told board members building problems at Hussey include bathrooms and floors so old they’re hard to clean, worn-out plumbing and a lack of ventilation. He said classroom ventilation at the school now consists only of a chimney system in which there is a hole in the coat closet in the back of each room that vents directly to the roof.

“All those bathrooms are in terrible shape at Hussey,” Pucciarelli told board members at the March 1 meeting. “It reaches a point it’s just impossible to clean something that old and that grimy for so many years.”

The roof at Hussey underwent structural repairs just last year, after city voters approved a referendum question to “borrow” $338,000 from the state school revolving renovation fund. The city, under the program’s rules, must pay back only $167,321 of the loan, with no interest. The state will forgive the other $170,429 though the program, which is funded through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

Pucciarelli said Augusta’s chances of being successful with its application for school construction funding for Hussey will not be hurt by the roof structure repair having been done recently at the school.

“We scored very well last time. We scored 17th,” Pucciarelli said. “We won’t lose credit for the fact we’ve repaired the roof. So I’m hoping that we’ll do well.”


The state’s application deadline is April 14.

The school board is scheduled to vote on submitting an application to the state at their 6 p.m. meeting Thursday in the green conference room at the superintendent’s office, which is in the Capital Area Technical Center building.

Hussey, one of the city’s four elementary schools, was built in 1954 as part of a decadelong effort to update and consolidate schools to educate baby boomers, according to application materials filed in support of the former Hodgkins Middle School being added to the National Register of Historic Places. Hussey’s construction was followed in 1956 by the former Buker Middle School, which is now the Buker Community Center; and, in 1958, the former Hodgkins Middle School, which is now Hodgkins School Apartments.

Board members, in the only other agenda item Thursday, also are scheduled to hold a closed-door session to discuss a labor relations matter.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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