EAST MACHIAS, Maine — Fundraising for the $1.8 million expansion project at Washington Academy will top $1 million this week when Machias Savings Bank President Ed Hennessey presents $100,000 to the school at its boys basketball game Friday night.
School officials hope to pack the gym to mark the achievement and to kick off the public part of the campaign.
Robin Moloff-Gautier, director of development, said the expansion plans are centered on a new arts and music center.
“To compete with other county schools [and] nationally and internationally as well, WA needs to continually improve facilities and programs,” she said. The project includes a 10,800-square-foot addition to the Gardner Gym. It includes four new classrooms, a new art room with increased storage, a kiln and pottery wheel, a new music performance room that will used as community lecture space, a music computer lab, additional music storage, athletic storage, a health and wellness center and a new entrance that will showcase student art in display cases.
The new art room construction also will open up an additional classroom in the science wing for needed lab space. Four new tennis courts will be built as well as a new cross country trail.
A visit to Washington Academy by a reporter revealed that the art department spills out into a hallway and the band is taking up needed athletic space.
“It will be fantastic to give the arts and music their own space,” Moloff-Gautier said.
Moloff-Gautier said that the process to identify just what expansions would be included in the capital campaign began more than four years ago after a strategic planning session. A committee was formed, surveys completed and need identified.
The school is hoping to break ground on the building additions next spring and to open the arts and music center for the beginning of the September 2010 school year.
“Washington Academy has set a goal of $1,875,000 for this capital construction,” Moloff-Gautier said. “A very careful assessment in 2006 of the curricular and extracurricular programs revealed that increased space is needed for visual and performing arts, as well as improvements for athletic fields. In addition, global concerns about physical activity and improved health led WA to include development of a health and wellness center to encourage lifelong healthy lifestyles.”
School officials said this week that the success of the campaign, called Today for Tomorrow, illustrates the solid and ongoing partnership Washington Academy has with surrounding communities and businesses. So far, Moloff-Gautier said, nearly $1.1 million has been raised from community members, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of Washington Academy. The board of trustees participation is at 100 percent.
Jeff Brown of J.M. Brown was hired as contractor for the project in November 2008 after a thorough bid process. Brown’s proposal for the arts and music addition is $1,475,000. Adding the other components led to a final project cost of $1,875,000, the largest such project in the school’s history. Brown has agreed to hire local subcontractors for the site work. Other work will include electric, plumbing, surveying and painting. Excavation work for preliminary septic system removal and installation of new systems is anticipated to add another $350,000 for local subcontractors.
Washington Academy has served as an educational and cultural hub for Washington County since 1792, and more than 420 students attend the private school from more than 20 Washington County towns and 10 countries.
To learn more about Washington Academy’s capital campaign contact Moloff-Gautier at 255-8301, ext. 209.