When Hancock County Habitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors made the difficult decision to close its Ellsworth ReStore location earlier this year (effective mid-August), it did so with a view to focusing more on the organization’s core mission of providing affordable housing and related support services in the county. It was important to the leadership of the organization to find an office space which would reflect its mission and fulfill its vision of growing in service to the community. After considering the current and future needs of the organization and evaluating several spaces, Habitat is pleased to announce that our administrative offices will be moving to the Orland Community Center, located at 21 School House Road, Orland.
Habitat will occupy the ~850-square foot space by September, with plans underway to put up partition walls to subdivide the room into a reception/waiting area, conference room and offices.
With additional conference room space, a licensed commercial kitchen and other shared facilities in the handicap accessible building, being a part of the community center provides the potential for Habitat to expand its public service offerings to include financial education training, safety seminars, etc. for its Partners and the community. Habitat’s leadership also sees the opportunity to utilize the new office and community center rooms to enter into other collaborative partnerships with area nonprofits.
The Community Center itself went through a transition several years back to become the active space that it now is. In the spring of 2011, town residents voted to shutter the then Orland Consolidated School and move its students to Bucksport as the result of $890,000 in state subsidy funding cuts impacting the district.
While the former 16-classroom school and gymnasium was offered up to redevelopers in 2012, with a town committee considering alternative uses such as senior, assisted-living or low-income housing, a charter school, offices or a retail center, ultimately the Town of Orland retained the building. By 2013, the location had already become more of a community hub, regularly hosting an area Boy Scout Troop, cancer support group, Master Gardeners, beekeeping club, and other community groups. In 2015, with funding from the town and a grant from the Maine Community Foundation, a fitness center opened in the building—a conversion spearheaded by Mike Malenfant. Mr. Malenfant held the position of former maintenance director of the school for approximately 12 years and now manages the Community Center along with former school librarian, Karen Lanpher, who provides administrative and operational support.
Current building tenants of the Orland Community Center include a café, registered dietitian, wheelchair & scooter repair shop, bio-medical business, engineer/surveyor, barber, beautician, tanning salon, massage therapist, and a 2nd hand shop—all of whom are listed on the Community Center’s Facebook page. The grounds are typical of a school, with a playground and ball-field, but also include divided small and large dog park areas. Spaces in the building are available for daily rentals and short and long-term lease.
“We’re really excited about becoming the newest tenant in such a vibrant, diverse community space and what this will mean for our affiliate’s future,” said Executive Director, Kelley Ellsworth.
About Hancock County Habitat for Humanity: Habitat was founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. Hancock County Habitat has been proudly serving the area since 1989. Through private donations and volunteer labor, Habitat builds simple, decent homes in partnership with qualified individuals and families who assume an affordable mortgage on their home at completion. To learn more, please visit www.HancockCountyHabitat.org.