Cobscook learning center adding $2.8 million residential building

Posted Oct. 11, 2013, at 1:06 p.m.

TRESCOTT, Maine — The Cobscook Community Learning Center will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for a new building that already is under construction and will strengthen the nonprofit organization’s ability to fulfill its educational mission.

The 11:30 a.m. ceremony will celebrate the addition of Heartwood Lodge, which is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2014.

The 10,144-square-foot lodge will be able to house 50 people, adding residential capacity to the campus. It will enable the center to offer longer-term, multi-day programs and to attract larger-scale offerings.

“We look forward to offering more immersion programs in the arts and music,” executive director Alan Furth said in a news release issued by the center. “We can increase our summer camp offerings and serve as a place for families to come learn about health through retreats on diet and fitness. Additionally, we have been in conversation with the University of New England, the University of Maine, and other institutions for years about intensive programming that could happen once we have overnight facilities. Heartwood Lodge is the key to turning those ideas into reality.”

Lodging facilities also will allow the center to market itself as a conference and retreat facility, said Furth. “These are the types of programs that can generate real revenue. We’ve done the business plan, and we know that this building will sustain itself and help keep the center afloat for a long time.”

The building project will cost $2.8 million. The center achieved the critical level of $2.3 million earlier this year with the receipt of an anonymous $1.2 million gift. The campaign still has $300,000 left to raise over the coming year.

“This success is a reflection of a lot of hard work on the part of our staff, board, and capital campaign committee,” said Janet Weston of Trescott, one of the committee chairs. The panel, co-chaired by Sue Crawford of Robbinston, has been raising funds the past four years.

“The building will be built by local people using local materials whenever possible. That’s been our commitment from the start,” said Weston. “Supporting the local economy, while furthering the center’s educational mission, is what this building has always been about.”

The groundbreaking ceremony also serves as the kickoff of the center’s annual RiceFest, a day of music, food, and traditional arts for people of all ages. RiceFest starts at noon and is free and open to the public.

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