Groundbreaking Ceremony!

September 22nd, 2016


Cornerspring Montessori School officials held a ceremonial ground breaking on Friday September 16, 2016 at the site of their new Passive House building construction on Lower Congress Street in Belfast. Attendees included Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau, Rep. Erin Herbig, Brandi Savage from Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s District Office, parents, students, campaign donors, city officials and members of the business community. Students from Cornerspring Montessori School equipped with hard hats and pint-sized shovels broke ground, marking the first Passive House Montessori School to be constructed in the state of Maine.

Cornerspring board treasurer Scott Kelley welcomed the attendees to the event and explained its sigimg_6669nificance.

“Today, Cornerspring Montessori School makes history. Today, our students break ground for the first Passive House Montessori school built in Maine. Thanks to donors to the Journey Home campaign, and with financing in place from Damariscotta Bank and Trust, we are able to begin construction while continuing to raise funds for the new school,” said Kelley.

The $1.18 million school includes a Primary Wing and an Elementary Wing, along with four classrooms, a room for the Toddler Program, all-school multiuse spaces, a teacher conference room and administrative offices. The school is sited on a 35-arce parcel of land purchased by Cornerspring Montessori, which will serve as the outdoor education space for environmental and science classes, as well as the annual summer camp program. The campus features woodland and will include gardens and trails when complete.

The new Cornerspring Montessori School was designed by GO Logic, a Belfast architecture and construction firm. It will be the first Montessori school in Maine to target Passive House certification.

Journey Home campaign co-chair Sarah Tomalty expressed the board and committee’s gratitude to the project’s donors.

“Today we recognize the thousands of hours of volunteer work and the generosity of 163 contributors to the Journey Home Capital Campaign,” said Tomalty. “We are so grateful to all of our donors – and thanks to the many donors who are here with us today. We are here – thanks to your support. You have helped us surpass the half-way mark. To every one of our donors, we extend our heartfelt thanks,” Tomalty added.

The capital campaign has raised $866,526 to date in contributions, pledges, and in-kind gifts from individuals, local businesses and foundations. The Phase One goal is $1.65 million.

Journey Home campaign co-chair Eric Kormann recognized the support of 100% of Cornerspring Montessori’s staff, families, board and campaign committee, and added, “To be clear…while we celebrate today – we’re not done. Our journey continues! The Journey Home campaign continues. We are working to raise another $783,000 to fully pay for this wonderful school. For anyone who was waiting to see with their own eyes that we could do it…here we are today. We are building the first Passive House Montessori school in Maine,” said Kormann.

Cornerspring Montessori’s Head of School, Susan Beemer, acknowledged the support of the city of Belfast, the Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses.

“We are excited to partner with Damariscotta Bank and Trust in financing our construction of this beautiful new building,” Beemer said.

“In this moment of our groundbreaking for our new school building, our wonderful teaching staff, our families and our children are moving into a bright new future. This building offers our students ample natural light, flexible and functional classrooms, room to grow and generous outdoor spaces for environmental and science-based programs. Maria Montessori said, ‘within the child lies the fate of the future.’ Cornerspring Montessori School is preparing our future peacemakers, our caregivers of the earth, our future leaders in our community, county, state, country and world. This building will ensure that we can continue to prepare children for the future for years to come,” Beemer added.

Students from Cornerspring, equipped with hard hats and shovels, were then invited by Beemer to do the honor of breaking ground.

“Okay Cornerspring Students, dig in,” Beemer exclaimed, as the pint-sized shovels were driven into the dirt.

School officials state there will be no programming disruptions as the new school is under construction. Cornerspring remains at its current location, 18 Hatley Road on the athenahealth campus for the 2016-17 school year. Officials plan a smooth transition with school opening for the 2017 year in the new building on Lower Congress Street.

Currently 56 students are enrolled in Cornerspring Montessori School. The new school will allow enrollment to grow to 92 students. A full time toddler program with dedicated space in the new school will also be available, with space for ten children.

Since 2001, more than 600 children have experienced Cornerspring Montessori programs. Families recognize Cornerspring Montessori as a high quality alternative and an educational asset in the region.

Cornerspring Montessori School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serving 56 preschool, kindergarten and elementary students. Founded in 2001 by Paula Johnson, Cornerspring is one of 34 Montessori schools in the state. More than 600 children have experienced Cornerspring programs since 2001.

For more information on Cornerspring Montessori or to give securely online visit the Journey Home page at Or mail a check made out to Cornerspring Montessori School to: Journey Home, P O Box 67, Belfast, ME 04915-0067. Follow the journey on Facebook: Journey Home – The Campaign for Cornerspring Montessori.

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