Sumner school gym, courtyard to be named after local banks

SULLIVAN — The Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24) Board of Directors unanimously approved July 20 naming the larger of the two gyms at the Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus, which is under construction behind the current Sumner Memorial High School, after First National Bank and the building’s courtyard after Bar Harbor Bank & Trust (BHBT).

Additionally, the board approved accepting recent donations from both banks toward the construction of the combined middle and high school. First National Bank has gifted the project a $60,000 donation, spread over three years beginning in 2022.

BHBT pledged $25,000 last week.

While the $44 million facility is funded largely by the state, certain guidelines limit what the state will pay for. Friends of Sumner’s Future, a group of volunteers, has been working to raise $1 million through private donations for the campus’s extra expenses.

Getting donors has been a difficult task.

“We’re not attracting, really, donors at all,” said RSU 24 Superintendent Michael Eastman.

Board member Andrea St. George Jones asked if the new building would also incorporate old names and traditions from the current high school, such as the Clint Ritchie Gymnasium.

Nikki Chan, director of curriculum for RSU 24, who was the chairwoman for the new building’s naming committee, spoke of preserving Sumner’s traditions, but said the new building was also a new beginning, and that names of current spaces would not transfer over to the new building without new fundraising efforts.

State Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) was in attendance at the meeting and shared his support for keeping one of the gyms at the new building named the Clint Ritchie Gymnasium.

He asked how much it would cost to name a space at the new building.

Chan responded that the initial guidelines listed a classroom space at $10,000, a larger room like a fitness facility or music room at $15,000, an area such as a stage at $25,000 to $30,000 and a visible, outdoor space or a gymnasium was slated at $75,000 to $100,000.

That was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At that time, we were at a very different place,” Eastman said.

The official names for both the gym and the courtyard have not been determined.

Rebecca Alley

Rebecca Alley

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Rebecca is the Schoodic-area reporter and covers the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor and Trenton. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband and baby boy who was joyously welcomed in June 2020. Feel free to send tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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