RSU 71 towns gave the district a green light for proposed renovations to Belfast Area High School by a vote of 3,704 to 2,823.

The five-town school district includes Belfast, Belmont, Morrill, Searsmont and Swanville.

The $7.6 million bond would pay for a major overhaul and reorganization of the older south end of the building including the pool. District officials hope to start work in 2017.

Some residents were against bringing the plan to voters now on grounds that another major building project identified by the school board — the equally costly overhaul of the Tri-town Ames and Weymouth Elementary schools in Searsmont and Morrill — would get pushed to the back burner.

The bond was approved by a majority of voters in Belfast and Searsmont, while a majority in Belmont, Morrill and Swanville rejected it.