CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Construction of a $2 million Competition Center at Sugarloaf is due to begin in May, buoyed by a donation for half that amount as organizations say the new building will help the booming skiing and snowboarding community in western Maine.

The 11,000-square-foot center is projected to be completed by November to ensure that the building will be functional by the 2016-2017 winter season. The center will be used collaboratively by the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club, Carrabassett Valley Academy, and Sugarloaf. All three of those organizations have competition at “the heart” of their missions, according to the academy.

Sugarloaf’s existing competition center at the base of the resort is outdated, with no running water and no bathrooms, and is too small, according to the academy’s head of school, Kate Punderson. The new center will be built in the same location as the existing one, but the structure will be expanded.

“It’s been a dream to upgrade the facility for many years. We’ve been planning it and just waiting for the right time and the right opportunity,” Punderson said.

That opportunity got a boost with a $1 million donation to Carrabassett Valley Academy from the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation. The donation is intended to not only help build the competition center, but also to help build relationships and networking opportunities among Sugarloaf community members by giving young and experienced skiers and snowboarders a competition hub.

“On behalf of my family and the foundation, I am very pleased to support this impressive partnership that is bringing a new competition center to Sugarloaf,” Bill Alfond, president of the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, said in a news release. “Not only will the new facility continue to inspire Maine youth to raise their aspirations through athletics but it will also be an important economic driver for their region.”

Sugarloaf and its partners in the competition center are working to raise the remaining funding necessary to complete the project.

The center will feature a day lodge space, locker rooms, tuning and waxing facilities, office and meeting space, as well as a trainer’s room.

Bruce Miles, president of the Sugarloaf Ski Club, holds a rendering of a proposed Competition Center while standing in front of the existing competition center.

Bruce Miles, president of the Sugarloaf Ski Club, holds a rendering of a proposed Competition Center while standing in front of the existing competition center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Punderson said the new space will allow aspiring and established competitors to have a home base on the mountain and have access to the equipment maintenance and facilities necessary to support their passion. With office and meeting space also included in the center, Sugarloaf organizers will have the facilities needed to bring regional and national competitions to the mountain for the western Maine community.

World Cup mogul skier Jeremy Cota, 27, said that when he enrolled at the academy in eighth grade, he didn’t have goals to pursue his athletic career, let alone become a member of the U.S. Ski Team, which he did seven years ago. But Cota, originally from Greenville, said that throughout his high school years at the academy, he was immersed in the competition community that surrounded Sugarloaf and that, as his dreams grew, that community was there to support him.

“That program and community is very much structured for competition, (and) you get inspired being there,” Cota said. “I dreamed of winning a gold medal, and CVA gave me the support I needed, the coaching, the facility – everything I needed to do that. … I think this new facility will help sort of set forth these goals.”

Cota has placed first twice in U.S. Championships, for dual moguls in 2010 and moguls in 2012. At the 2015 World Cup, he placed second for moguls. During his time at the academy, he traveled out of state for competitions but always could guarantee being able to compete in at least two mogul competitions every season at Sugarloaf, where his parents could go to watch him.

Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club President Bruce Miles said the club and its members have focused on competition and fostering an overall community around the love of the sport since they carved the first trail on Sugarloaf Mountain in 1950.

For the ski club, the new competition center will serve as a clubhouse on the mountain. The Ski Club serves as a scholarship program and a volunteer and social organization that aims to be a service to Sugarloaf with an emphasis on youth, organizing social events for club members, and continuing to support competitive events of all levels at the mountain, according to its website.