A portable classroom building at Pittston Consolidated School could arrive a little later than expected — perhaps even six weeks or seven into the upcoming school year.

The four-classroom, four-bathroom modular unit, needed in light of the anticipated closing of a school in Randolph, will take some time to build, and the company arranging to do so wants a signed contract to start the process.

That can’t be done until after the referendum Tuesday calling for the closure of Teresa C. Hamlin School.

So the board of School Administrative District 11, the Gardiner area schools, met Monday to make plans.

Rebecca Fles, the board chairwoman, said that if it’s not ready by the first school day for students, Aug. 29, then the library, art and music rooms at Pittston will be used temporarily for classroom instruction.

There had been some discussion about getting a refurbished modular building, but Fles said that was not an option for the board.

“The board was very specific in their desire to do what we promised,” Fles said on Tuesday. “We made a promise to the community and to those kiddos that we would have a new four-classroom, four-bathroom building on site.”

Fles said the board learned of the delay at its regular meeting on Thursday. “Because we’re leasing rather than purchasing this modular classroom. Schiavi (Leasing Corp.) was unable to begin the process of building it until we had a signed contract.”

She also said there have been a glut of orders to ship classrooms all over the country and that many of the subcontractors doing the work are based in the South.

“However , Schiavi does also contract with a Maine builder,” Fles said. “There is a possibility that it could be ready for August. That is again yet to be determined.”

Fles said the board was told that it would be delivered by mid-October at the latest, and the plan is to house all students inside the Pittston Consolidated School while awaiting the arrival of the modular classroom unit.

“We’re hoping that staff and the community can look at it with anticipation and excitement as we await delivery of our four-classroom building,” Fles said. “It’s not a bad thing; it’s a just a thing. This is part of life, little pieces of adversity that make us stronger and better.”

Historially, Pittston Consolidated School has housed up to 227 students. On Monday night, Superintendent Patricia Hopkins said anticipated enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is likely to be 230 to 235 students and that 12 instructional classrooms are available.

She said the plan is to absorb all of Randolph students into the Pittston classrooms, and that another second-grade teacher will be added there to meet teacher-student ratio standards.

In the meantime, the board scheduled one final vote for May 16, the day after the referendum. The polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the referendum.

If the town votes to approve the school closure, then the board would vote again.

“At the end of the that meeting, the contract will be signed and delivered to Schiavi so the building can being as soon as possible,” Fles said.

The board voted March 15 to close the school after holding several public meetings. The school at that point had about 40 students. That board vote led to a Randolph referendum set for Tuesday , when residents will be asked if they want to authorize the board to close the school.

On Monday night, SAD 11’s business manager, Andrea Disch, said the extra cost to the town of keeping the school open would be just over $452,000, in addition to the town’s regular commitment to the district. Disch said the figures were calculated according to the state’s formula and corroborated by state officials.

The town of Randolph’s website says, “This represents about a 50 percent increase to the amount that Randolph pays now to MSAD #11 and a 22 percent increase in the entire town budget.”

In response to some questions from Randolph residents, administrators said the school would remain as district property and the building would remain as an emergency shelter and evacuation site.

Hopkins said the future of the facility has not yet been determined, although the Boys & Girls Club of the America in Gardiner might need to lease it for a year while work is done on its own site.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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