LIMESTONE, Maine — An additional dormitory for the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone this year has led to a bump in enrollment for the unique high school.
In early 2014, a long-term care facility in Limestone completed construction of its new building, Rising Hill. The former building, Limestone Manor, was acquired by the Maine School of Science and Mathematics and will mean more Maine students will have an opportunity to study at the residential high school.
“If we hadn’t had this building, we would not have been able to meet the need that we have for a program like the Maine School of Science and Mathematics,” explained Executive Director of MSSM Luke Shorty.
The math and science school welcomed 149 students to school this fall, and Dean of Enrollment Management Alan Whittemore was happy to welcome each and every student.
“We capped out last year at 135 students with the concurrent configuration, hence we had a wait list this year until this opportunity with the Limestone Manor presented itself,” Whittemore said.
The opportunity for increased enrollment came with a relatively short window for converting the former Limestone Manor into MSSM’s second dormitory, and Shorty credits the school’s staff with the quick transformation of the facility, particularly the school’s maintenance supervisor Larry Adams and COO/engineering instructor Michael Lambert.
Currently, 17 male students, a faculty member, the director of residential life and an additional residential life adviser occupy the dorm’s south wing.
The northern wing of the facility has not been upgraded as of yet, but improvements to the wing would bring MSSM’s enrollment capacity to 171 — a larger student body that the school has had in over a decade.
Whittemore remembers back to those days, as he was MSSM’s very first employee.
“When we opened, (the school’s primary dormitory) was a K to sixth-grade school and the students lived out on the base, off campus,” Whittemore explained, describing the new off-campus dormitory’s opening harkens back to the energy and excitement of the school’s inceptive students.
“Students can walk back and forth, it’s less than half a mile, but we’ll be providing transportation, especially as our climate encroaches on us,” Whittemore said.
The demand for additional space at MSSM doesn’t seem to be subsiding any time soon.
“Let’s put it this way,” Shorty said with a grin. “Alan already has six people signed up for an open house that we haven’t started advertising.”
“The demand is out there and the excitement is out there,” Shorty added. “We’re just excited to be part of this, to meet the needs (for this school) that is out there and give the state of Maine what it wants.”
Last weekend, MSSM students took part in a school-wide Community Service Day and some of that giving-back spirit was used to put a new coat of paint on the second dorm; the students (and school staff) aim to complete that lofty project this weekend.
A grand opening of the facility will be held at a later date.
Additional information about the Maine School of Science and Mathematics can be found by visiting www.mssm.org.