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Updated: January 16, 2023

A former Maine Veterans’ Homes site in Augusta will become home to arts academy

people on stage dancing Courtesy / Maine Arts Academy Students bus to the Maine Arts Academy from all over the state to study the arts.

Maine Arts Academy, a charter school for the arts, plans to move to a building in Augusta that’s about six times bigger than its current location in Sidney.

The academy bought 310 Cony Road from Maine Veterans’ Homes Augusta for $3.25 million. 

Chris Paszyc of the Boulos Co. and Ann Castonguay of Sprague & Curtis brokered the transaction.

“Maine Arts Academy has grown in enrollment every year it has been open, and we are excited to continue to expand programming to any high school student in the state of Maine who is interested in a free public arts education,” said the academy’s head of schools, Heather King.

The seller

The 69,615-square-foot building on 8.9 acres, near the Capital Area Sports Complex and Viles Arboretum, was constructed by Maine Veterans’ Homes in 1983 with an addition in 2003, said Paszyc, who represented the seller.

aerial of building and fields
Courtesy / The Boulos Co.
The 69,615-square-foot building on 8.9 acres at Cony Road has plenty of space for the Maine Arts Academy to expand enrollment and programs.

“The building is in excellent condition for its age,” he said. 

Maine Veterans’ Homes sold the property because it opened a new Augusta facility, at 35 Heroes Way, in August 2021, he said.

Maine Veterans’ Homes is a nonprofit that provides care to veterans, their spouses and Gold Star parents at six homes — in Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough, South Paris and a new location in Augusta.

Maine Veterans’ Homes began marketing 310 Cony Road with the Boulos Co. in August 2022. Multiple offers and back-up offers were received. 

front entry with brick path and lawns
Courtesy / The Boulos Co.
310 Cony Road was built for Maine Veterans’ Homes, which in 2021 moved its Augusta home to a new location.

“Maine Veterans’ Homes is pleased that the property at 310 Cony Road in Augusta will continue to be utilized as a beneficial resource in the community and appreciates being part of the transition,” Christine Henson, communications manager of the organization, said in a news release.

The buyer

“This is a win-win for Maine Arts Academy and the city of Augusta,” said Castonguay, who represented the buyer.

Maine Arts Academy opened for the 2016-17 school year as a free public high school for the arts, including music, dance, theater and visual arts. Located in a leased building of about 12,000 square feet at 11 Goldenrod in Sidney, it educates students from over 30 districts statewide.

building with people in front
Courtesy / Maine Arts Academy
The Maine Arts Academy will move from its leased location in Sidney, partially seen in the background, to a much larger building in Augusta.

“Students from all over Maine bus to our school,” said King.

Enrollment this year is 225. The goal for the new location is to grow enrollment to 400 students, said King.

The property search included finding a location that could be zoned for a school and that was big enough to accommodate spaces such as a theater auditorium, a dance studio and instrument rooms.

The search took a month or two. 

“Not long,” said King. “Our Realtor got wind of that building before it even went on the market.”

The academy is looking to do some renovations to the new spot, but nothing that would prevent it from moving in after its lease in Sidney expires in June.

Renovations include taking down some walls to optimize space and installing elements such as dance flooring for the dance studio.

The purchase and renovations were financed by Kennebec Savings Bank.

“Kennebec Savings has been wonderful. They really carried us through this process,” said King, who also credited the Maine Charter School commission and Sprague & Curtis for supporting the project.

“We’re really looking forward to being in the community and sharing the arts,” said King.

Students with the academy’s dance department recently performed at Colby College in Waterville, she added.

The new location will also allow the academy to begin summer programs for the first time.

“We’re very excited to be able to have summer camps,” she said. “I’d say, ‘Stay tuned.’”

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