SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — Despite having no government funding, a group of people entered into a sales agreement Tuesday to buy land for a hoped-for combined high school, vocational school and college.
Many Flags One Campus Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the combined school, put a down payment on 205 acres of farmland near the St. George River. Foundation members hope that local school boards and voters from nearby towns will want to use the land to build the $70 million school.
About a month ago Gov. Paul LePage’s preliminary budget included no money for the proposed project, but did assign the type of school facility its own budget line for future funding. This was an encouraging sign, supporters said at the time.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit began fundraising to pay for the land. The sales agreement specifies that the nonprofit raise the money or obtain a loan by fall. The project’s coordinator, Alan Hinsey, would not say how much the land cost, how much the down payment was, or exactly when the rest of the money is due.
Hinsey didn’t say what the nonprofit would do with the land if the school boards and voters reject it, but indicated the group will figure it out when and if that time comes.
Supporters anticipate the grades nine through 16 school would house Rockland’s Oceanside High School; the Mid Coast School of Technology; a higher education center for University of Maine and Maine community college programs; and Industry Centers of Excellence on one campus. The facility would allow high school students to work toward a college degree and would also serve community members.
The project could receive state funding as soon as July 2013.