Friends need $52K to meet fundraising goal for new Cumberland school

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CUMBERLAND — Friends School of Portland, which plans to open a new building next fall near the Falmouth town line, is striving to raise $52,000 toward the project by the end of the year.

“That will bring us to the $2.47 million that we set out to raise,” Head of School Jenny Rowe said Monday morning at the construction site at 11 U.S. Route 1.

She expressed confidence that the school can meet its goal.

“We’re hopeful; this is the time of year people would like to spend charitably,” Rowe said.

A foundation has been laid for the 15,000-square-foot building, on a 21-acre parcel. Walls are schedule to be erected later this month.

“We’re kind of amazed ourselves that this has happened so quickly,” Rowe said. “It’s been … a lot of work, but the process has included so many people with such diversity of skills and generosity, that it just feels like very much a community project.”

The Quaker school will be Maine’s first school certified as a “passive house,” and only the third in the U.S., according to the school. The building, designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects and being built by Warren Construction Group, will not use fossil fuel for energy.

The passive house concept, according to the school, is “a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, thereby reducing its ecological footprint. Passive house design uses solar gain and carefully engineered air ventilation to warm and cool the building.”

Friends School of Portland started its ninth year this fall with 90 students. It has leased space from the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on Mackworth Island in Falmouth since 2006; that lease expires next July.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Naomi Beal, left, chairwoman of the Friends School of Portland building committee, and Head of School Jenny Rowe stand Monday at the school’s future Cumberland location, due to open next fall at 11 U.S. Route 1.

How to get involved

Log onto friendsschoolofportland.org, call 781-6321, or email information@friendsschoolofportland.org for more information, or to donate to the school’s fundraising campaign.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.