Lewiston Sun Journal

Aug. 27—AUBURN — After an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Edward Little High School administrators, staff members, students and alumni, along with many other members of the community, were treated Sunday afternoon to a self-guided tour of the school's new building.

Auburn Schools Superintendent Cornelia Brown emceed the ceremony, with Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque presenting the keynote address.

The Auburn Police Department Honor Guard presented colors, raising the American flag for the first time at the new school at 77 Harris St. in Auburn, and ELHS rising senior Annabeth Treadwell performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Other speakers included Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin, Maine Board of Education board member Kristin Bishop, Auburn School Committee Chair and Building Committee Chair Karen Mathieu and ELHS Principal Scott Annear.

Construction of the $126 million building began in March 2021 and is expected to be completed in less than a year.

Baseball and softball fields are to go in after the old building is demolished — work that is now in progress. An eight-lane track is to be surfaced, tennis courts are to be built this spring and a 1,200-seat auditorium — along with technology spaces — should be completed in time for the first high school musical in November.

Levesque, a fifth-generation Auburn resident and 1992 ELHS graduate, said the opening of the new school evokes a sense of pride, excitement and opportunity to make it the central part of the community.

"It's a school that is dear to the hearts of all, where dreams will flourish, friendships will be forged and knowledge will light our paths," Levesque said. "This is a building and campus for the whole community for generations to come, but remember, a building is only as strong as the community it serves. Let's strive to make this new chapter in the history of Edward Little High School truly momentous."

Mathieu said "more than just steel and concrete," it took innovation, dedication and a collective effort to transform the vision of a new Edward Little into a reality.

"It is a symbol of progress," she said. "A statement to our community's commitment to education and a promise to the generations that will pass through its halls."

Mathieu reintroduced Levesque to award Annear with the key to the city of Auburn for his leadership at the old building, while simultaneously supporting and fully involving himself in the construction of the new building.

"May this key open all the doors not just for you, but for your pupils for generations to come who will remember you and your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your family for the hard work needed to make this a reality," Levesque said.

The new school is a building that promises to "meet the needs of today and tomorrow," Annear, a 1989 ELHS graduate, said, adding that the occasion served to remind all that no matter the space, ELHS is an institution boasting top educators who support, encourage and challenge students to seek great heights.

"We are still a school that takes great pride in knowing our students, providing opportunities and working tirelessly to see our students succeed," Annear said. "This effort is for all students. We invest in students with every background, history and life experience. This is what makes Edward Little an Auburn great — and an envy of the state."

Senior class president Joe Martel and junior class president Anaya Egge cut the ribbon as the ELHS concert band performed the school song, providing a ceremonial nod to the start of the 2023-24 school year.

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