SKOWHEGAN — Sam Hight announced that $1.6 million has already been raised for the new Early Learning Center which will be built in Skowhegan. The new Early Learning Center will be built as part of the new elementary school building located near the existing Margaret Chase Smith School site. When built this will be the first birth through grade 5 school in Maine. 


“The success of any community is built on the success of its children and families. By focusing on ages zero to five–the most important ages in brain development–this initiative builds the foundation for learning,” said Hight on to a group of 60 at Bigelow Brewing. “We (The Hight’s) are incredibly fortunate that we can give a multi-generational gift to a program that will impact generations of local families.  For five generations, the importance of children’s well being, education, and supporting the local community has been paramount in the way we do business.” 


Hight is chairing the committee responsible for leading the fundraising effort. Also on the committee are: Erin Merrill, Suzanne Walsh, Tracye Fortin, Gail Gibson, Chelsey Carrier, Rich St. Pierre, Michael Lambke, and Jon Moody. 


Hight announced that the Hight Family will lead the fundraising with a $500,000 gift.  In addition to announcing 100% giving from the campaign committee, Hight also announced leading pledges from The Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation for $500,000, the Skowhegan Savings Foundation pledged $250,000, $100,000 from Ware Butler, $50,000 from Don Skillings State Farm, and $50,000 from the Damon Family. 

“Skowhegan Savings Bank is pleased to help support this exciting initiative in Somerset County.  It aligns well with the bank’s mission to make our communities a better place to live and work.   Additionally, our Foundation’s focus on workforce development makes this a perfect initiative for us to support. Getting these additional resources to the next generation at an early age will help them excel and flourish throughout life,” said David Cyr, president and CEO of Skowhegan Savings Bank. 


The school is slated to open in the fall of 2025, with the Early childhood wing operated by KVCAP, using Educare philosophies, to offer childcare and pre-k education for 160 students.  In addition to serving more students, the wing will add an additional fifteen jobs to the region.  The Early Learning Center will not only be for instilling the importance of education to children at a young age, but will provide crucial workforce development, addressing the poverty cycle in Somerset County. 


“KVCAP has been providing services to families in the Skowhegan community for 57 years.  We are proud to be part of this new school, in partnership with MSAD 54, and to have the opportunity to support more children during their first five years of learning as well as to support parents and families as they advance their own education, workforce, and housing goals,” said Suzanne Walsh, CEO of KVCAP.

To learn more about the campaign and how to donate, visit www.kvcap.org/building-better-beginnings.