FARMINGTON — In six months, dozens of people donated more than $600,000 to enhance the new educational facility that will replace Mt. Blue High School.

The gift givers were honored Wednesday at a reception at the school.

“Students 50 years from now will look back at what we have done and what you have given to the future generations of Franklin County,” co-chairwoman of the Mt. Blue Legacy Campaign, music teacher Carol Shumway told the donors.

The largest gift, more than $250,000, was made by Richard, Judy, Jenn and Rocky Bjorn, and the 500-seat auditorium in the school will be named in their honor.

Franklin Savings Bank has pledged $100,000 to go toward an outside concession stand and bathrooms, and three scoreboards.

Other major donors are PDT Architects, the firm designing the new school, and the family of the late Mt. Blue teacher and tennis player Richard Gould, with the wish their gift would go toward the cost of new tennis courts.

Depending on the amount given, donors could request their names be placed on auditorium seats, landscaping and plantings, classrooms or they could leave it “undesignated” and used where needed.

Among the notable gifts was one for $25,000 raised by several families to refurbish a 1909 Steinway grand piano that had been purchased for the former Wilton Academy School in 1930, said campaign co-chair and retired teacher Nancy Cureton.

She said she was thrilled that the Steinway can at last be restored and become a part of the fine arts auditorium.

“This was very difficult in this climate to ask people for money but your generosity will help support the life blood of this community,” she said.

The lead architect on the project, Ian Parlin, said he is excited to be working on a project he considers will be “an exceptional building” that will be a showcase for ways to create a learning environment that integrates academic, career and technical classrooms.

“You are leading the way,” he said.

More than 90 percent of the $65 million project is being paid for by the state Department of Education.

Although ground has not yet been broken for the new building, construction has started on the sewer and water lines, which will be causing disruption in traffic on the Whittier Road for the next few weeks, said Mt. Blue Regional School District Superintendent Michael Cormier.

And when school starts next week, students and staff will be sharing parking spaces with construction crews and heavy equipment. The front lawn of the school has been converted to a parking area because the portable classrooms have been relocated to the existing parking lot space at the back of the school, he said.

Also, several programs from the Foster Applied Technology Center will be the relocated to the former Farmington shoe shop on High Street.

The renovated campus, when completed, will integrate career technical programs with traditional high school education. It will support adult education, Franklin County Community College courses, college classes, and will be able to offer industry-specific training areas, according to the district’s website.

State funding for the project will provide for the basic necessities such as desks, equipment for performance areas and playing fields.

But for a project designed to last 50 years, additional money is needed to purchase quality materials that will go beyond what the state will fund, the site states.

The $600,000 will provide “durable enhancements” to better equip science and learning labs, art, family and consumer science, career and technical education instruction spaces, classrooms and performing arts rooms. Also needed are additional storage units for the competition fields, better lighting and sound systems for the performance areas and seating for sporting events.

Carol Shumway, co-chair of the Mt. Blue Legacy Campaign, addresses several dozen donors at a recognition reception at the high school on Wednesday. At left is an artist’s rendering of the new 200-seat forum performance and instructional space that is one of the new school’s features. The Campaign has raised $600,000 for enhancements for the new Mt. Blue Learning Campus that will replace Mt. Blue High School and Foster Applied Technology Center.

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