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Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus draws closer to completion for RSU 24

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:06 PM EST
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SULLIVAN, Maine (WABI) - The new Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus in Sullivan is a $42 million project that will replace the old Sumner Memorial High School for middle and high school students in RSU 24. The project is funded mostly by the state, with the school district paying around two-point five percent of cost. As the building moves toward a July 2022 opening date, RSU 24 is in full fundraising mode to help cover the cost of more than a million dollars in amenities that aren’t covered by the state.

On Thursday, the school’s new high school gymnasium got some help from The First National Bank in the form of a $60,000 donation.

“They’ve done an excellent job of putting this together through fundraising and through other sources to make it happen,” said First National President & CEO Tony McKim. “The high school has been around a long time, and it’s a little worn out. It was time for an upgrade here. This school and the construction of it and our abilities to support the gym and athletics for the kids is a way that First National Bank gives back to our communities.”

The new campus will serve as both a middle school and a high school for students from the nine towns that make up the RSU. It will replace the current Sumner Memorial High School on Route 1 which was built in the early 1950s. Sumner Memorial will be torn down in the fall to make way for new athletic fields.

“The school is in desperate need of repair,” RSU 24 Superintendent Michael Eastman said. “If you go walk through there and then walk through here, you’ll see a facility, it’s really state of the art.”

The high school gym at the new campus will be accompanied by a separate middle school gym. The new school will also feature a 300-seat auditorium, as well as air-source heat pumps and energy recovery ventilation.

Eastman has been involved with Sumner High School for more than three decades and says the anticipation for the new school grows as it gets closer to completion, even if fundraising is a bit more of a priority at the moment than an eventual grand opening.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Eastman said. “I feel really fortunate to be in this position to have been here the whole span. Students have been doing tours on a regular basis and so we’re starting to generate a little bit of excitement with them as well. The process itself is all encompassing. It’s been exhaustive, and so I really haven’t given a lot of thought to the first couple of days. But I do know that when we have that opportunity when we sort of have that ribbon cutting, it’ll be an exciting time for the district.”

Eastman said the school is happy to give anyone who wants one a tour as long as they set it up with the school ahead of time.

For more information on the construction project, visit rsu24.org.

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