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by Megan Moshier, Director of Sales and Operations

Thanks to a grant from the Holt Family Fund and the Maine Community Foundation, we have created space for a new outdoor classroom on campus. Located along the paved path between Rockefeller Hall and Moore Auditorium, the classroom consists of 15 wooden benches hand-crafted by ML Cross LLC of Bridgton, Maine.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for more outdoor meeting space on campus and clients are excited to learn that we have options which include outdoor space for both eating and convening.  While the pandemic emphasized this preference we know that it will continue.  We plan to apply for grants again this year to add a couple of additional outdoor classrooms. We are thrilled to be able to offer options and meet the growing needs of our guests.

According to Schoodic Institute Maintenance Manager Craig Pinkham, it was not an easy task to find a product that would serve us well and meet the target budget. “I spent months searching,” he said. “I kept going back to a production run of one type of 36-inch bench that came with some assembly required and looked okay. Like many things as late these were out of stock with no deadline or delivery commitment.”

But while searching Pinkham found Mark Cross and contacted him, described his vision, and the two worked together to come up with a plan that would meet the target budget without compromising quality.

“The end product is amazing! Each bench is handmade in Maine and no two are the same or cut from the same mold so to speak. Mark has more than met our expectations and complemented our natural landscape with his work. Mark is also very much in line with our mission: his shop is 100 percent solar-powered, he is an avid fly fisherman, and he understands the importance of preservation and giving back. We look forward to working with him in the future,” said Pinkham.

The new “classroom” complements the covered pavilion with picnic tables and additional picnic tables that are scattered around campus, as well as outdoor seating behind Moore Auditorium. In addition to lodging and meeting space, Schoodic Institute has a talented food systems team.  Open all year, we serve as a venue for school groups, artists retreats, board meetings, photography and night sky workshops, bird watching and a variety of other meetings, conferences and retreats. To inquire about availability and rates contact me at 207/288-1337 or mmoshier@schoodicinstitute.org.

Mark Cross puts logs through a mechanical saw mill.  Mark Cross in his workshop sanding legs of what will become the benches.  A finished bench.