Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Glenn Cummings, executive director at Good Will-Hinckley, said the Baltimore Ravens’ missed field goal Sunday wasn’t the only miracle this week in New England.

Cummings and Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons signed 34 documents Monday morning which solidified the sale of 600 acres of the Good Will-Hinckley campus for Kennebec Valley Community College.

Negotiations had been in the works for about two years and was made possible due to the Harold Alfond Foundation’s $10.85 million gift to the Maine Community College System.

Fitzsimmons said the foundation’s magnificent gift allows the birth of one new college campus and the rebirth of Good Will-Hinckley.

Fitzsimmons said Harold Alfond, the foundation’s namesake and a noted philanthropist, dreamed bigger than most. And Fitzsimmons said the foundation’s gift will be the impetus for many more dreams to be realized.

The Maine Community College System will use $4.5 million of the gift to purchase 600 acres, including 13 buildings, of Hinckley’s 2,450-acre campus along U.S. Route 201 in Fairfield.

The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges contributed $2.5 million and Maine Community College System $2 million in the transaction, which totaled $15.35 million.

The college system will spend $9.8 million in upgrades and construction on the new Kennebec Valley Community College campus.

With the expansion, Fitzsimmons said the Fairfield college will be able to increase its enrollment by 2,000 students to nearly 5,000.

“Thousands of Mainers will be able to obtain an affordable college degree and have a better life,” Fitzsimmons said.

Barbara Woodlee, president of Kennebec Valley Community College for 28 years, said officials would be good stewards of the special campus.

She said the lone institution of higher learning in Somerset County had come a long way since it began with classes at Waterville Senior High School and that she appreciated the 600 acres it has on which to expand.

In addition to the money Good Will-Hinckley will receive from the sale of the 600 acres, it will also get $1 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation when the Hinckley-based Maine Academy of Natural Sciences obtains charter school certification.

Cummings said he couldn’t help but think the Rev. G.W. Hinckley, founder of the home-school-farm for orphans in the 1880s, helped orchestrate this miracle. Cummings said Hinckley believed in young people having homes and in having an education and that this generous gift would provide youth from the lakes of Sebago to the fields of Aroostook with opportunities for both

Gov. Paul LePage said the state’s economy would prosper by having a strong education system that heeded the needs of the market.

“It’s all about the kids,” he said.

Beth Staples — 861-9252
[email protected]

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