Welcome to FPES

Our mission is to preserve the old Peru Elementary School Building and transform it into the new Peru Community Center

    In 2005 the Peru School District was compelled by the state to merge with MSAD 21 with the promise that the new combined Dirigo Elementary School would be built in Peru. At the time, knowing that the Peru Elementary School building would be decommissioned in the spring of 2008, Peru citizens formed an ad hoc committee to explore alternative uses for the PES building. Two years later, MSAD 21 consolidated with MSAD’s 43 and 39 to create RSU 10. The ad hoc committee became an official sub committee of the Selectmen and continued to explore possibilities for PES. We surveyed the citizenry and investigated every conceivable repurposing of the old place. We also developed building use forms and price schedules for the many nonprofit organizations that used the building. Our primary hope all along had been to secure a long-term education-based tenant (UMA, RSU 10) to take over the top floor of the building while leaving the bottom floor to be used as a community center. Though the latter use worked out fine, we were unable to secure a big tenant, and in June of 2011 a small but active minority of Peruvians lost patience with us and voted to defund the building.    

    With that shock we ceased to be a subcommittee of the Selectmen and formed a committee we call Friends of Peru Elementary School. FPES elected a board, built a website, a Facebook page, and developed a long list of potential fundraisers. Weeks later, the Gibson Municipal Charitable Program awarded the town of Peru a $10,000 grant with the understanding that it would go to FPES for maintenance of the building as the Peru Community Center. However, at a contentious special town meeting, acceptance of that grant was denied. As FPES we began holding fundraisers and attempted, at various public meetings, to promote the civic value of preserving PES and developing it into a Peru Community Center. Our efforts paid off, when, in November, the townspeople voted to lease the building to FPES for a year, rather than tear it down.

FPES and the Peru Selectmen worked out a lease, and in early December FPES took over operation of the building. FPES pays no rent but is solely responsible for maintenance, utilities, insurance, etc.    

Since taking over the building the following things have occurred or soon will:

  1. Zumba lessons have resumed

  2. Yoga lessons are imminent

  3. We’re planning our second Turkey Shoot for late April (first one was Oct 23)

  4. The Neighborly Senior Citizens Club, 70 strong, has begun holding its monthly meetings at PES

  5. We held a Pancake Breakfast/Open House on Jan 21

  6. Our next breakfast will be on Maine Maple Sunday in collaboration with Thurston Maple Products of Peru

  7. The West Peru Good Shepherd Foodbank will soon move its operations to PES and plans a grand opening for March 3

  8. The local Girl Scout troop will soon begin meeting at PES

  9. Western Maine Street Rods has committed to basing their annual Fall Foliage Cruise at PES

  10. We are negotiating with a musician/artist to provide studio space for lessons

  11. The Rumford Area Quilters have donated a quilt to be raffled

  12. FPES has received permission from RSU 10 Superintendent Dr. Ward to acquire 30–40 aged but healthy computers, with which we will rebuild the PES computer lab for use in after-school programs for children

  13. We’ve begun work on a Vendor Fair for May, at which local small businesses can rent booths

  14. The Republican Party held its caucus at PES

  15. A committee of FPES members have begun work on a community cookbook

  16. We are exploring the creation of a community kitchen; met with the Department of Agriculture inspector on 2/13—he deemed the building suitable.

  17. Website: http://www.friendsofpes.org

  18. Facebook: Friends of Peru Elementary School

  19. We are constructing a public Google calendar, linked from our web site, to aid scheduling

  20. We have developed a long list of potential fundraising activities and have begun buildings a database of volunteers for specific activities