Quaker school to break ground in Cumberland

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CUMBERLAND — Friends School of Portland will break ground for its new home Aug. 7 at 11 U.S. Route 1.

A 4 p.m. ceremony will be held at the 21-acre, forested site, near the Falmouth town line.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will be “a beautiful, net-zero building based on Passive House design principles,” Head of School Jenny Rowe said in a press release.

“Passive House,” according to the release, 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.”

The Quaker school will be Maine’s first school certified as a Passive House, and just the third in the U.S., according to the school. The building will not burn fossil fuels.

Due to open in the fall of 2015, the school is designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects and will be built by Warren Construction Group.

Friends School of Portland enrolls 90 students and will start its ninth year this fall. 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.

“The only Friends school in northern New England, Friends School of Portland embraces the Quaker belief in the unique worth of each individual,” according to the press release. “Small, multi-age classes nurture inquiry, reflection and action, and support children’s unfolding development as curious, creative, and compassionate world citizens. The school offers a place-based curriculum with cooperative, hands-on learning in a close community where simplicity, service, stewardship, and peaceful resolution of conflict are practiced every day.”

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

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Friends School of Portland will break ground Aug. 7 for its new building on U.S. Route 1 in Cumberland, due to open next year.

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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.