A trip to Long Island this summer won’t be complete without a tour of the new Learning Center at the school that will house the Community Library, a technology center, meeting rooms, art gallery, and large hall with a stage. Since groundbreaking last August 8, there hasn’t been a dull moment as we struggled with typical island construction delays, weather imposed challenges, and worries about finding the funds to complete the interior. But as residents returned to the island this spring, they have wondered at the magic that turned a September hole in the ground into a beautifully designed and constructed building that complements and improves the existing school. And all of us anticipate the day it is complete and will become an invaluable asset to our island way of life.

From the outside the building looks complete, except for the landscaping. Inside, because all the drywall and initial painting is done, its looks good enough to be able to imagine the finished space. Enough of the mechanical systems and electric work was completed to receive a temporary occupancy permit. Imagine our excitement to be able to hold fifth grade graduation in the new building and to watch our children perform on the new stage! The Civic Association held its June meeting there, and the Southern Maine Library District is going to have a meeting there later in July. The building was spotlighted on the First of July Tour, and inspired a lot of excitement.

It looks as if we will finish it in “Long Island style.” To complete one bathroom, we have received in-kind donations of plumbing fixtures, tiles, door and other necessary things. Hancock Lumber donated the fir ceiling in the library and CPM Constructors installed it. Cumberland County Work Release Program did the interior painting. The McDuffie family donated the ceramic tiles for the lobby and the art gallery, and Frank Oliva, our architect, and his extended family installed them, in exchange for a week of island cottages on the water. Through two island fundraisers, an auction and a wine tasting, we have raised enough money to purchase the hardwood for the floors, and another island family has volunteered to install them.

Once the hardwood floor is laid, we will concentrate on the shelving for the library, at least enough to move the books we have up from our basement library so that the library can open its doors. The MBNA Library Grants Program has started us out with a matching grant for those shelves. With that help we hope to raise the rest by the end of the summer.

This is the building that many thought would be impossible to build. The end is in sight, thanks to the hard work and the donations from many, many people and organizations. Thanks are due to all of them.