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Old Bath High School welcomes new town library

BATH — Years in the making, Bath welcomes the first phase of what will be a town community center with the official ribbon cutting ceremony for Bath Community Library on Saturday.

A grand opening and dedication will be held at 3 p.m. at the old Bath High School on South Harding and Carteret streets, where what was once the town’s school is being painstakingly given new life through restoration.

The school was built between 1918 and 1921 and for 70 years served as the center of the small town’s life. In 1989, the school closed, but when the Bath Town Council began entertaining bids to demolish the buildings in 2005, Bath preservationists stepped in. Over the next eight years, a series of grants to and fundraising events by the Bath High School Preservation organization has paved the way to the building’s restoration. Since 2010, a $750,000 investment has been made on the project, with 50 percent coming from grants and the other 50 percent from fundraising and donations, according to Sandra Harrison, Bath High School Preservation president.

Last month, the Bath Community Library opened is doors with triple its previous space and, now, to triple its usage, as more residents have been drawn to its new home at the old Bath High School, Harrison said.

And there’s more to come: the community library is part of Phase I for a building that will become a true community center.

“That’s exactly what we wanted: to get something in there that would serve the community,” Harrison said.

The public is welcome to attend the grand opening and reception Saturday.