In 2004, the Lamoine Public Works Study Committee recommended that the Town purchase three parcels of land located behind the Lamoine School for future Town uses, such as a site for a new school or a public works complex, at a cost not to exceed $350,000.  The Selectmen placed the land purchase recommendation to a referendum vote in November, where it was defeated by a margin of 69 votes.


Although the opportunity to purchase the parcels still existed early this year, the Selectmen felt that the issue should be deferred until after the March Town Meeting when the new five-member Board of Selectmen would be in place.  The new Board reviewed the issue on March 31 and decided that the circumstances had not changed significantly enough since November to warrant reconsidering the previous decision of the Lamoine voters.  However, they did agree that the purchase of one of these parcels, the three acre parcel presently owned by David and Melanie Miller, which is adjacent to the east side of the existing ballfield behind the Lamoine School, could benefit the Town in the long term.  Therefore, they voted to include an article for the purchase of this parcel on the April 28 Special Town Meeting Warrant.


The most significant benefit of the purchase is related to a possible need to expand the Lamoine School at some point in the future.  Last year, the School Department was one of many similar departments across Maine that applied to the State for school construction funding.  The State reviews all such applications and conducts on-site inspections as necessary to prioritize the applications on the basis of need.  The State inspected the Lamoine School at the end of the year and recently announced that Lamoine ranked 39 out of 64 applications received.  This means that it may be three or four years before Lamoine moves up sufficiently in the ranking to receive state funding.


At this point, it is not known whether a new school or expansion and rehabilitation of the existing school will be required.  In either case, the existing site is very constrained as evidenced by the lack of adequate parking.  The construction of a new school on the existing site or the expansion of the existing school, including provisions for adequate parking, would most likely encroach on the existing ballfield.  The purchase of the three acre Miller parcel would facilitate replacement of that portion of the ballfield required to accommodate the necessary school construction.  In effect, the ballfield could be “slid” easterly onto the Miller parcel.  This would allow the Lamoine School to maintain a ballfield at the school site, which is a significant benefit for any school.