PITTSFIELD, Maine — Maine Central Institute on Saturday launched a $6.5 million capital campaign, as part of its sesquicentennial celebration during the school’s reunion weekend.

The Founders Campaign is the first comprehensive campaign in the School’s 150-year history, according to a news release. It includes the first $1 million pledge in the school’s history, made by an anonymous donor.

Headmaster Christopher J. Hopkins kicked off the campaign at a gathering during reunion weekend, which was attended by more than 350 alumni and supporters.

“The Maine Central Institute board of trustees join me in expressing our profound gratitude to our lead donors who have contributed over $3.7 million to the campaign,” Hopkins said. “We are delighted to announce the Koester Family $500,000 Challenge Gift,” which is not included in the current $3.7 million campaign total.

“Tom and Anne Koester of New Jersey, will match the next $500,000 we raise, dollar for dollar,” he said. “We are grateful to Tom and Anne for challenging others to support the Founders Campaign. I hope their generosity inspires everyone who believes in the promise of an even brighter future for MCI and the students we serve.”

Funds raised through the campaign will strengthen MCI’s academics, arts and athletics programming and increase the school’s endowment, said Norbert Young Jr., president of the board of trustees and a 1966 graduate, in the news release. Planned upgrades totaling $3.4 million include repurposing the original math and science center, replaced in 2001 by a new facility, and consolidating music, arts, drama and dance classes into one space.

Improvements to Founders Hall, MCI’s original campus building, will be completed, the release said. Final renovations involve refreshing architecturally significant details such as the building’s antique tin ceiling tile, floors and stairwells, new restrooms, and the addition of an elevator.

In addition, $2 million will be invested in the school’s endowment, increasing it to $6.5 million, the release said.

Upgrades to MCI’s athletic fields were funded out of the Founders Campaign and completed earlier this year, according to the release. This $700,000 investment created three new multipurpose fields and renovated existing fields, making it possible for all outdoor field sports teams to practice and play on campus for the first time in the school’s history.