BENTON — Maine School Administrative District 49 is working to secure the permits needed to move forward with construction of a $45.6 million consolidated elementary school, and officials are anticipating state approval of design plans in November, with construction scheduled to begin in January.

District officials gave an update on the project Wednesday at a public hearing that a handful of residents attended.

The plan is to have work on the 55,000-square-foot school completed in November 2025, and have students move in the following month, according to MSAD 49 officials.

The school is to be built adjacent to the current Benton Elementary School at 68 School Drive. The project is expected to allow the district to consolidate three schools — Albion Elementary, Clinton Elementary and Fairfield Primary schools — and reorganize students up to sixth grade.

The reorganization would lead to the closure of the Albion, Clinton and Fairfield schools, and move students from prekindergarten through second grade to Benton Elementary School and third through sixth graders to the new building.

The state has said it will cover the cost of the new consolidated school. The architect is CHA Architecture of Portland.


Among the permits that still need be secured is one from the Maine Department of Transportation to allow a turn lane onto Neck Road and construction of a sidewalk in the area for students and others to use.

Residents approved the project last November by a nearly 400-vote margin. Albion residents, however, are challenging the closure of the elementary school there and are continuing efforts to keep it open.

The school reorganization plan has been overwhelmingly opposed by Albion residents, who believe it will lead to an increase in their tax burden and make it more difficult for the town to attract new residents if it does not have its own school.

The Planning Board in Benton is scheduled to review updated school construction plans at its meeting Sept. 12.

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