LEE, Maine — A donation of 30 acres from the H.C. Haynes family and a $600,000 renovation will make a huge improvement to Lee Academy, its headmaster said Wednesday.
Headmaster Bruce Lindberg announced that the wife and children of the late Herbert C. Haynes Sr., who founded his Winn timberland company, H.C. Haynes Inc. in 1963, will donate the land between the town cemetery and the town garage off Route 168, which is known locally as Winn Road, as a tribute to Haynes, a member of the school’s board of trustees for many years.
“It’s an incredible gift not only to Lee Academy but to the citizens of Lee,” Lindberg said Wednesday.
Jay Haynes said his mother, Virginia, and he and his three sisters, Cynthia, Ginger and Barbara, made the donation to help the school, from which Herbert Haynes’ children and almost all of his grandchildren graduated.
“It is adjacent to the academy, and they need more room. It’s located pretty well,” Haynes said.
“Dad didn’t go there, but all of us kids did, and he spent the better part of 25 years out there with the school,” Haynes added. “I think he had the utmost respect for the school and wanted everybody in the area to get the best education they could.”
Lindberg and Jay Haynes have agreed that the new land’s first use should be recreation — a soccer field, tennis courts and a nature trail will be built on it. No one knows what will follow, Lindberg said. Potential uses include dormitories, classroom buildings, more recreational fields or other support facilities.
“The expansion possibilities are limitless,” he said.
Haynes’ company will raze trees and remove stumps from the land and do a rough excavation in preparation for the creation of the fields for free, Haynes said. Work will start in a few weeks.
The donated piece of land, which is at least as large as the campus itself, should make for good recreation fields. Haynes declined to say how much the land and the donated work are worth.
“The area we are going to be clearing is reasonably flat and pretty decent property. It should shape up pretty well for what they want,” Haynes said. “The rest of it is hit and miss. There are some wetlands there that they will have to go around.”
Area residents will have use of the trail and tennis courts, Lindberg said.
A new elevator from the ground to the first floor, additional classrooms, new windows, a new and reinforced roof and new, heavier insulation are among the features of the $600,000 renovation, Lindberg said. It is the first major work done on the building since 1927.
It is due to be finished by Aug. 20. Larry Ham Construction of Lincoln is the primary contractor.
The renovation is part of a larger, $1.6 million plan to revitalize the school’s physical plant, Lindberg said.
Lee is a quasi-private, independent boarding and day school that serves about 230 students from 23 Maine towns, including those of the new Eastern Maine Area School Systems, or EMASS, and boarding students from 16 states and two countries, according to its website, leeacademy.org.
It had 78 international students in the school’s dormitories, including 55 Asian students, at the end of the last school year.