Late August marked the completion of what was once just a vision and is now a reality. Outdoor learning has been a long-time focus thanks to Lucy Simonds and Nini Christensen, especially during Covid times when spacing in school was required. As a result of this dedication to nature and learning, an outdoor classroom space was born.
In December of 2019, a proposal to build a post and beam structure was presented to the Rangeley Lakes Regional School Board of Directors and the Legacy Committee, chaired by
Virginia Nutall.
A core group was formed and Nini Christensen, Sonja Johnson, Timothy Straub and various alumni came together to research the site, gather aerial images, design a timber frame structure, gather estimates and develop a plan for funding.
Grant options were explored, and momentum was gained after the class of 2020 gifted their remaining class funds as a show of their commitment to this academic community and to remember this moment in time. Further donations were made by the Ladies Auxiliary, Hammond Lumber, Sarge’s Sports Pub & Grub, Rangeley Rotary Club. Some federal Covid relief funds
were also put towards this special project.
Nini Christensen applied for and was awarded an Outdoor Learning Mini-Grant for Maine Public Schools through the Maine Environmental Education Association and the Skowhegan Savings Foundation. The funds from these grants were used to purchase five bench/picnic tables and some learning backpacks.
Groundwork was completed in the fall by M & H LLC, RSU 78’s maintenance director Jeff LaRochelle, and A-One Builders.
In January of 2022, Nels Christensen, an RSU 78 alumnus, arrived from Alaska to begin construction on the elaborate post and beam structure that he designed. It was not the most ideal time to start a new project in Maine, but he persevered.
Additional acknowledgments are due to the Town of Rangeley, Rangeley Builders Supply, Gallan Lumber, Cliff Dexter and the broader community for their support of RSU 78.
I personally want to thank everyone who made this possible and hope the community will utilize this space for meetings or small gatherings. Please contact Jeff LaRochelle at 864-3311, for more information.
R.L.R.S will host a Community Open House on November 9, 2022, from 5-6 pm.
Georgia Campbell- RSU #78

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