THORNDIKE – The nonprofit Unity Foundation announced Wednesday it will offer a $250,000 challenge grant to the booster group trying to raise money for the school that will replace SAD 3’s Mount View complex.
Construction of the new kindergarten-through-grade-12 structure, which will cost $39.6 million, is expected to begin in the fall. The state will bear the entire cost of the building, but will not pay for certain amenities deemed luxuries.
Community members created the Future MSAD 3 nonprofit to raise money for such amenities. The group decided to focus its initial efforts on raising money for a 300-seat performing arts center.
The Unity Foundation, created by the late Bert and Coral Clifford, agreed to give $250,000 toward the performing arts center if Future MSAD 3 can raise an equal amount. The campaign goal is $575,000.
Steve Bennett, chairman of the board for Future MSAD 3, said Wednesday the auditorium will have a “thrust” stage, theatrical sound and lighting, stage curtains, an acoustical design, catwalk, control booth and mezzanine.
Bennett and Larry Sterrs, chairman and CEO of the Unity Foundation, were flanked by students who perform in drama and musical productions at the school when they made the announcement in the Mount View High School cafeteria.
The school’s Mount View Chamber Singers has earned a reputation around the state for its outstanding vocal performances, but the singers, as well as the school band and drama clubs, have had to perform in the cafeteria, a less-than-ideal performance setting.
“A lot of people have been working a long time to make this school happen,” Bennett said.
“We are doing this in honor of our founders, Bert and Coral Clifford,” Sterrs said. The Cliffords were especially generous with youth and educational causes.
After the announcement, which was made in front of a group of students before the start of classes, Bennett said Future MSAD 3 has raised about $80,000 toward the match. Another $100,000 had been raised earlier.
“We decided at about the time of the referendum to focus on the performing arts center,” he said.
When the match is raised, Future MSAD 3 will continue to raise money, Bennett said, for other amenities for the new school that will not be paid for by state funding. Such organizations are becoming more common for schools in Maine and elsewhere, he added, to pay for amenities that taxpayers sometimes balk at funding.
The new school will likely serve as a community center for the 11-town district, which sprawls across western Waldo County. The towns in the district are small and rural, and few have venues that can hold as many as 300 for musical or theatrical performances.
Future MSAD 3 also announced that Rod McElroy, former administrator and superintendent in SAD 3 and former state legislator, will serve as honorary co-chairman for the fundraising campaign.
Laurie Osgood, president and CEO of the Unity-based company Unitel, is honorary co-chairwoman. Osgood graduated from Mount View in 1980, and attended the school from kindergarten through high school.
For information about Future MSAD 3, call 948-6120 or visit www.futuremsad3.org.