Built in 1906 to serve as a boys’ school at the Good Will-Hinckley orphanage and home for needy children, the Charles E. Moody School closed in 2009 and stood vacant for almost forty years. In 2011 a committee including private sector and nonprofit professionals mapped out a new vision for Good Will-Hinckley which included establishing new leadership, partnering with an outside organization, and selling some of its real estate. In 2012 planning began for renovating and expanding the Charles E. Moody School. Today, the Charles E. Moody School now houses the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, Maine’s first charter high school.
MeANS provides disengaged and at-risk kids with individualized academic support, and utilizes the extensive natural resources of the campus to promote a curriculum that includes agriculture, forestry, and environmental sciences.
Because the school building had been vacant for decades, significant rehabilitation work was required. Conditions were so poor that there were large openings in the roof, leading to severe water damage and rot throughout the building. Because MeANS hoped to build classroom and support spaces in the lower levels, significant excavation beneath the building was required to achieve sufficient ceiling heights.
Water incursion, due to a striated rock ledge beneath the basement, proved a serious problem, but a system of drains, vapor barriers, and other means of waterproofing were used to mitigate the threat of future damage. Significant masonry restoration was undertaken on the exterior of the building, and damaged or missing elements of both interior and exterior trim were replicated.
The rehabilitation of the Charles E. Moody School means that this historic building will continue to serve the educational needs of Maine’s youth well into the 21st century. It’s a success story all Mainers can be proud of.