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MCI's History

vintage photo of students sitting in front of Founders Hall circa 1900

MCI was founded in 1866 to prepare students for study at Bates College which, at the time, was a seminary in Lewiston, Maine. Over the years, MCI has continually modified its curriculum to fulfill the academic needs of students pursuing post-secondary studies or vocational training.

In 1868, construction of the MCI campus began atop what was formerly a sheep pasture outside town. The Institute Building (later renamed Founders Hall) consisted of six large rooms on the first floor; the second floor was later refurbished and named after MCI trustee and state governor, the Honorable Llewellyn Powers. The third floor was also completed at a later time. An unfinished fourth floor provides access to an impressive bell tower. Henry W. Lancey donated the bell that was added in 1877. Founders Hall is used to this day for classes and offices, and Powers Hall is where the Bossov Ballet Theatre instructs students and holds rehearsals during the school year.

typing class circa 1956

MCI introduced sports programs in 1893: tennis, baseball, football (in 1899), and track. Later, MCI added field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, wrestling, softball, cross country, golf, cheering, swimming, and eSports. Distinguished alumnus George M. Parks (Class of 1885) contributed funds for Parks Gym, and the family of Perley Wright contributed funds to build Wright Gym in 1987. MCI added two playing fields to the campus in 2015 that enable our students to practice and host games at the school.

MCI entered into a contract with school administrative district #53 in 1909 to educate students from Pittsfield, Detroit, and Burnham alongside students from throughout the United States and the world. Our students and faculty/staff who live on campus reside in three student residences: Rowe Hall, Alumni Hall, and Manson Hall.

In 1959, MCI constructed the William H. Powell Memorial Library. The Powell Library houses classrooms, a full-service library, the school store, and the Hazel Monteith Earle Memorial Language Department.

In 1962, Johnson W. Parks donated the Parks Homestead to MCI that the School used to build a 9-hole golf course. J.W. Parks Golf Course is a public course that was sold in 1996, although MCI students use the course regularly for golf practices and home game matches on its lush green fairways. J.W. Parks Golf Course is recognized by the National Golf Foundation as one of the finest 9-hole golf courses in New England.

In early 2005, MCI purchased the Shorey House building on Main Street, directly across from the Headmaster's residence in the Manson House. The property provides additional faculty housing and increases the number of adults who supervise the boarding population.

In 2007, MCI constructed the Trustee Memorial Student Center using funds from MCI alumni and friends. The center houses the Patterson Student Lounge, Savage Family Dining Room, the Jeff Hazell Kitchen, Furman Recreational Facility, Kinney Conference Suite, and the Merrill Bank Dining Servery. The dining room seats 250 people and is the location for many events and gatherings.

As the student population grew, so did the need for extracurricular activities and a wider range of courses. Over the years, performing and visual arts programs have sustained great popularity with students, which led to consistent school achievements at the state and national level. In 2017, MCI created the Performing and Visual Arts Education Center in the JR Cianchette Building, which was refurbished with a leading edge recording studio and digital music lab, practice spaces for band and choral arts, a rehearsal space for theater, and a large art studio and display area.

boys basketball circa 1936
two men placing Rowe Hall cornerstone
men breaking ground for new gym

In the spring of 2021, following smaller strides to renovate Founders Hall over the course of 20 years, MCI awarded Cianbro the task of modernizing the building, which was completed in December 2022. As with any legacy building, teaching material and furniture had accumulated over decades of occupation in the basement and in the attic, which took time and planning to remove. One of the primary reasons for the renovation was to ensure the building was brought up to ADA standards, which included an ADA-accessible entrance to the building and an elevator. The elevator was part of the original renovation design but was required to be outside, so the team worked diligently to bring the elevator inside as its seen today.

MCI's history comprises several snapshots of the generosity of alumni and community leaders over the years: its picturesque tree-lined campus is alive with students on their way to the Chuck and Helen Cianchette Math & Science Center, the William H. Powell Memorial Library, Weymouth Hall, Founders Hall, Joseph R. Cianchette Hall, or to MCI's two gymnasiums. With the dedication, love and pride of many, MCI has prospered in preparing students for the future.

See the link below for a list of our previous Heads of School:

previous heads of school

See the link below for a list of our previous Faculty and Master's Cup recipients:

faculty and master cups