Masonry students construction work begins on Western Maine Play Museum

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On April 13, Steve Mitchell of the Maine School of Masonry in Avon, and Craig Hutchinson of Scott Taylor Construction in Wilton, began the excavations for the brick walls’ footing for a courtyard to be located in front of the museum building.

Two days later, Haley Concrete poured about 28 cubic yards of concrete into the trenches, which were about three feet deep. Mitchell and two of his masonry students, Drake Daniels and Ian James, smoothed the cement as it was poured.

Mitchell and his students will soon begin bricklaying for the courtyard wall, donating their labor. Mitchell has helped guide the WMPM board about the design of the courtyard. More than 90 bricks, each engraved with a personal message, have been sold to area individuals and businesses to help fund the project.

On Monday, Maurais & Son, Inc. of Jay, had a crew on site to begin the installation of new heating and plumbing systems, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation.

Work on the building’s exterior will start soon, thanks to Upright Frameworks of Wast Wilton, who will install new windows and siding. In the earliest planning stages for this project, Josh Wocjik, owner of Upright Frameworks, offered to do all of the museum’s building renovations at cost, a considerable gift to WMPM, noted board member Lori Lewis. “The WMPM is extremely grateful to these generous area businesses.”

The fund raising continues as $95,000 still needs to be raised to achieve a renovation goal of $500,000.

The museum board’s capital campaign overall goal is to raise a total of $750,000. Of that total, $500,000 will go towards completely renovating the former two-story York family home on Main Street into the public facility. Another $200,000 remains to be raised to furnish the exhibits and $50,000 towards an outdoor green space.

Most recently, the museum received $3,000 from the Francis R. Dewing Foundation to purchase materials for a hands-on activity Dark Room for children. In addition, the Farmington Rotary Club donated $2,000 to purchase custom train tables. These tables are currently being constructed by Maine Made Furniture in Rumford for a train-themed room at the museum.

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