MCI's History

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

Our History: Then and Now

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 hold rehearsals during the school year. Incidentally, MCI's SOLI Program often holds ceremonies in this revered space during their program.

As the student population grew, the need for extracurricular activities and a wider range of courses as well. Over the years, performing and visual arts programs have sustained great popularity with students; this has led to consistent school achievements at the state and national levels each year. In 2017, MCI created the Performing and Visual Arts Education Center in the JR Cianchette Building, which was refurbished with 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.

MCI introduced sports programs in 1893: tennis, baseball, football (in 1899), track; later, MCI added field hockey, soccer, lacross, basketball, wrestling, softball, and cross-country running. 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 some faculty/staff who live on campus reside in four student residences: Rowe Hall, Stanley/Alumni Hall, Nye Hurd Honors Dormitory (for honors students), and Manson Hall.

In 1959, MCI constructed the William H. Powell Memorial Library. The  Powell Library houses classrooms, a full-service library and media center, 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 team 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 (across from the Headmaster's residence, Manson House). The property provides additional faculty housing and increases the number of adults who supervise in the dormitories. 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.

MCI's history comprises several snapshots of the generosity of alumni an 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, the 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.

MCI campus circa 1899
boys standing on dorm porch circa 1910
students sitting for photo circa 1926
boys basketball circa 1936
typing class circa 1956
two men placing Rowe Hall cornerstone
men breaking ground for new gym
students posing in ella powell room at library
ballet students practice
student playing keyboard in digital music classroom