Alternative private school finds new home at UMPI

Posted April 03, 2009, at 9:16 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:59 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A “win-win” agreement was completed Friday that will allow students attending the Carleton Project, an alternative private school, to learn in a building on the campus of the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

During a news conference at UMPI, officials from the university and the Carleton Project signed an agreement that will give the alternative private school a permanent home. The private school educates students in grades nine through 12. Most go on to attend college.

When the school was founded, it was located in downtown Presque Isle. It now is on the spacious ground floor of Park Hall, a residence hall for UMPI freshmen.

“This is a win-win proposal for all sides,” UMPI President Don Zillman said. He noted that the arrangement would help recruit graduates from the Carleton Project to UMPI while also helping the college forge a closer relationship with the community.

There are now three Carleton learning sites, in Presque Isle, Houlton and Livermore Falls.

Classes already have begun for those students in Park Hall, and the students have decorated the classrooms with a hodgepodge of collages as well as pencil and watercolor artwork. They also have placed guitars, speakers and computers around comfortable couches and padded chairs.

Jennifer Walker, executive director of the Carleton Project, said the planning for the Presque Isle site began last August. She said the school was “very, very grateful” to UMPI for helping to solidify the partnership.

Now that the school has a permanent home, the Carleton students are expected to blend in with UMPI students and have access to the campus library. They also can attend lectures and athletic and cultural events, activities Zillman urged the students present for Friday’s announcement to try.

“If you go to one and it is boring, you can slide out of there very easily and cross that off your list of life experiences,” he said.

The Carleton Project is a nonprofit corporation focused on substance abuse prevention, alternative education, community building, online education and high school reform, according to its Web site. For information go to www.carletonproject.com.

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