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  • By Alex Lear The Forecaster

Fundraiser for new Mt. Ararat High passes $150K, aims for $500K

TOPSHAM — A $500,000 fundraising campaign for items related to the new Mt. Ararat High School has passed the $150,000 mark.

The $60.7 million project, due to culminate with the school opening late next summer, is being completed with state and local funding. But the $500,000 being raised through donations will cover needs that arise outside the classroom, such as sports scoreboards, dugouts and fencing for baseball and softball, concession equipment, an indoor ropes course and a “Hall of Honors.”

Donations will also create a contingency fund to cover other local needs, according to a School Administrative District 75 press release. SAD 75 voters in Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham approved the project in March 2017.

The Building Committee’s Naming Rights and Sponsorship Sub-Committee has been leading the fundraising effort. There is no specified time limit on when all the funds should be raised, said School Board member Holly Kopp, a liaison to the sub-committee, in an interview Monday.

Although the 2017 referendum stipulated that $201,000 would be raised, the Naming Rights group established a higher goal “in the event that costs were greater, (or) that other items came up,” Kopp said.

“It’s wonderful” to see the funds raised so far, she said. “Our communities have always been extremely supportive. They were supportive at the time of referendum when we launched into this huge community project, and we’ve had some fabulous business partners step up.”

Bath Savings Institution and Priority Real Estate Group are leading the pack so far by contributing $25,000 each.

Ways to donate including buying a $100 commemorative brick to be placed at the baseball complex. A piece of Mt. Ararat memorabilia made with a section of the old soccer goals or football goal post is also $100. A plaque with the donor’s name, to be placed on a seat at the new Mt. Ararat High forum, costs $500.

More information is available at

The project remains on budget and schedule, and is more than 60 percent complete, in line with how much of the total budget that’s been spent, SAD 75 Superintendent Shawn Chabot said Monday.

Mt Ararat High faculty are scheduled to start moving from the original 1973 structure and into the new building, located farther down the Eagles Way campus, immediately after school adjourns in June 2020. Demolition of the older structure is due to begin July 2020 and run six to nine months, after which a new synthetic turf athletic field will be installed in its place and completed in 2021.

In the meantime, the building’s new systems – including heating, ventilation and communications – must be tested to ensure they are working properly. Brickwork and window installations are underway, and the structure is to be entirely enclosed before the beginning of winter.

“Hopefully we don’t have an early winter,” Chabot said.

Watching the project take shape, “I think it’s pretty phenomenal that in less than a year, our students and staff will be in a brand new facility that’s state of the art. It’s really exciting that … they’ll be able to have a world-class learning environment.”

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