Frequently Asked Questions

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Why the One Campaign?

The One Campaign supports our school community’s vision to help MCWS become the leader among independent schools and an exemplar of Waldorf education in this country for the next 30 years. It allows us to create a unified, expanded campus essential to the mission and long-range health of the school. The campaign furthers our programming in several ways.  Additional spaces and resources help us focus on individual student needs in a way we are challenged by now. An environmentally responsible High School provides the capacity to create and sustain top level programming with larger classes. Growing our enrollment and, in turn, our programming and educational resources, allows us to fulfill our mission and meet the objectives of our 5 Year Strategic Plan.

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Why Give?

Give because you believe in what our school does. You believe a Waldorf education at Maine Coast Waldorf School is important, not only for your child but for society. You believe this place offers unique and vital gifts to our community. You believe the world is a better place with Maine Coast Waldorf School in it. And you want that goodness to grow.

Give because we can do this only if you—an important thread in this social fabric—contribute to it. This vision takes shape only with support from us all.

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How does this apply to me?

The One Campaign, and the expansion and changes to our campus that it supports, go far beyond the headlines: the addition and construction of a net-zero High School that can accommodate 80+ students, a vastly expanded and improved Community Hall, new educational support space for the lower grades, and improvements to our outdoor trail networks, parking, and permaculture. Our plans touch on nearly every aspect of the existing Waldorf curriculum that every child—from EC to high school—experiences every day.

In fact, our current facilities cannot support our curriculum to grow and deepen in the ways we all hope. We encourage everyone to learn more on the One Campaign section of the website (https://www.mainecoastwaldorf.org/one-campaign/), which outlines the intention and planning behind our campuswide expansion. The vision behind this expansion, and the changes it inspires are the truest reason for each family, especially those with children in the middle, lower, and early childhood grades, to give and become involved. We believe this growth on our campus will enrich, enliven, and strengthen an educational institution that has flourished throughout its history.

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Q:  How much will the entire project cost?

A:  The Board of Directors has approved a budget for all projects totalling $6.1 million. This figure aims to cover most of the improvements, additions, and new building projects across the campus, along with an operating endowment. As with any large scale construction project, over time, costs can be variable and uncertain. Not surprisingly, project costs have already risen over the past year for lots of reasons, including increased demand for construction, higher material costs, environmental circumstances, and greater clarity about future needs for increased programming. These increased expenses are normal, and they occur any time institutions expand. However, this reality may require us to reduce, eliminate or put off indefinitely some of our originally intended construction efforts. The Board of Directors, working with the Finance Committee of the Board, the Campus Planning Committee, the Business Office, and Manning Morrel, the school’s project representative, will keep weekly and monthly financial reports to ensure we continue to stay within this budget in a fiscally responsible manner.

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Q:  How much do we have to raise? How much have we raised so far?

A:  The One Campaign wrapped up its quiet phase on September 15th, having raised $3.8 million of our $4.1 million goal. Our feasibility study indicated that incredibly strong support existed within the community for this grand vision, and this has been borne out to date. Our Groundbreaking Celebration on September 16th launched our public phase, as we are not done yet! We must still raise $300,000 to meet our goal for a successful One Campaign. If the abundant generosity of our community enables us to raise more than this $300,000, we will apply the surplus to those parts of proposed projects that may have been cut or reduced due to budgetary concerns. That’s why it is so important that every family have an opportunity to sit down with our volunteers—to be heard and to be a part of this inspiring transition into our school’s future.

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Q: Can I donate my time or materials instead of money?

A:  We are very interested in exploring creative ways for donors to give. Two good examples: if a donor’s business can provide materials that we would otherwise buy or if a donor has the expertise to donate the same quality work for which we would otherwise pay. Either way, we would coordinate those donations with our project manager, Manning Morrill, and in turn, our general contractor, Peter Warren, to ensure that what you’re offering is a good fit and offers the school a cost savings. Please reach out to a member of the Capital Campaign team or Development Director Lynne Espy with any questions.

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Q:  The school is financing $2 million. Why?

A:  The leadership of MCWS believes that borrowing is necessary for two reasons. First, it enables us to immediately finance our needs for growth in a fiscally prudent way without increasing existing operational costs. The $2 million loan represents a carrying cost to the school that’s roughly equivalent to the existing cost of operating the High School at Pineland.  Second, the Board of Directors supports spreading out the costs of our school’s growth and improvements over time. That way, current families share the burden with families who will experience the benefits of this campaign in years to come.

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Q:  Will this have an affect on tuition?

A:  The One Campus effort will not increase tuition. Yes, expanding our grounds will increase our operational and maintenance costs. But increased enrollment activity and larger high school classes that we are already realizing will cover them. Further, the $2 million debt service we are prepared to take on has the same effect on the existing and future budget as the current costs associated with operating the HS at Pineland, costs that will be eliminated in the move.  In fact, signficant enrollment constraints at our Pineland high school are a major catalyst for our expansion plans. And even our most conservative projections show a considerable increase in enrollment with One Campus. That added enrollment means added revenue. Yet, enrollment growth won’t cover all of the additional operating costs. We aim to raise up to $250,000 for an endowment that will generate annual proceeds for increased maintenance expenses.  

MCWS has a longstanding culture of fiscal conservatism. None of this would be happening if the financial analysis didn’t pass careful internal and external scrutiny. No one—not the administration, the Board, nor the bank—would move forward if this effort required a tuition increase. That’s why it doesn’t.

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Q:  Our family uses tiered tuition. Should I give to One Campaign?

A:  The vision behind the One Campaign, and the future resources it will provide, will serve and benefit every child, family, and member of our community, regardless of grade. We believe that every parent and member of our community has a stake in the success of not only this campaign, but the realization of this vision. Each of us has different economic circumstances and various means of giving. We define a successful campaign by how many support it, not how much each person or family gives. We encourage everyone to give an amount that feels good to them and their family, an amount that makes them proud to have participated, regardless of what that amount is.

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Q:  What is the construction schedule?

A:  The Campus Planning Committee has carefully designed construction of all projects to work with both the school’s schedule and to maximize construction efficiencies and minimize costs associated with construction at various times of year. To this end, we will phase the building projects throughout campus.  

Phase 1:  

  • Construction for the central office addition onto the Community Hall is scheduled the begin 9/19, now that all permits have been secured.
  • The Educational Support Center will be added onto the Grades 1-4 building this fall.   
  • Excavation for the High School is slated to begin in October, with completion in time for the beginning of school in the Fall of 2017, or in time for this year’s 8th grade class to begin their 9th grade year. (The HS is being designed to accommodate between 80+ students at 11,154 sq ft.)  

Phase 2:  

  • Phase 2 is slated to begin in June of 2017, following Phase 1, and will include:
  • Completion of the additions to the Community Hall (café, kitchen, music and performance art spaces).
  • Completion of the parking and landscaping features of the Plan.

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Q:  Where can I find information about the projects and latest progress?

A: You can find detailed information about each project on our MCWS website, with a special tab for One Campaign: https://www.mainecoastwaldorf.org/one-campaign/  Check it regularly for the most recent updates.

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Q:  How will we address safety with students on campus during construction?

A:  Student safety is and always will be our utmost concern. A detailed plan is in place to ensure the safety of everyone coming onto our campus. Everyone associated with this project and working with, through, and for the architects, general contractor, subcontractors, and others, is aware that they are working around children of all ages. They have reviewed and agreed to all of the MCWS safety directives. Anyone associated with the construction itself will be signing in and out with the main office so that the school knows who is on campus at any given time. We also ensure require all necessary background checks and proofs of insurance. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the project’s safety, please contact the administrative offices.

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Q:  I have question(s) that aren’t listed here!  How and where can I get answers?

A:  We will do our best to add to and update these FAQs as the projects develop. We will continually update our website at https://www.mainecoastwaldorf.org/one-campaign/ to address as many issues as we can as we realize this incredible vision. We also encourage you to members of the One Campaign Committee and the Board of Directors, who will be happy to answer any questions or concerns. Thank you!

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