Dike Newell School after June 10 and June 13 fire. Maria Skillings / Times Record

Regional School Unit 1 has set up an online donation box to collect funds for school supplies after an arsonist allegedly set fire to the Dike Newell School in Bath last month. The fire severely damaged the building and destroyed almost all the school’s furniture and supplies.

The pre-K and kindergarten wing has been deemed salvageable, but RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said the wing housing first and second grades — 50% of the building — is a complete loss.

Allan Thomas Vigil of Bath, who police say set the fire, is at Two Bridges Jail, facing an arson charge — a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

The district is still waiting to hear from the insurance company about the total estimated damage.

In a letter to school parents, Dike Newell Principal Jennifer McKay announced that students will attend classes at the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center building next fall. The building is attached to the former Morse High School.

“Quite a bit of work will be done this summer to make the building functional for school in the fall, but there is enough space for us to run our elementary school in that building,” McKay wrote. “There will certainly be additional updates as we get closer to the start of school, including important information regarding pick-up and drop-off, an open house evening to familiarize students and families with the new space, and other details.”


Meanwhile, the need for supplies remains, but Manuel said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from his community and beyond.

“Since the fire, the local community along with individuals and groups from around the country have come together to offer support, donations, and kind words, all of which have been greatly appreciated by the affected students, teachers, and families that make up the Dike Newell school,” Manuel wrote in a press release.

Bath Marketing and Communications Specialist Susan Ellis said without a place to store physical donations, the school needs the money more than anything, allowing the district time to figure out what they need and where they will put it.

Monetary donations can be made online using the new website.

“The site provides an easy way to donate money, and to share the link using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter,” said Manuel.

In addition to the digital donation box, the owner of Salty Beach Designs and former Dike Newell student Meghan Cassidy sold “Dike Newell Strong” t-shirts to benefit the Bath Elementary PTA during a week-long fundraiser that began June 13. Cassidy said she received as many as 40 orders in a day and raised $1,020 by week’s end.


“I am so grateful that I was able to help the children and faculty during this devastating time in our community,” she said.

While the t-shirt fundraiser has concluded, Cassidy said she will continue to make the school spirit shirts, but proceeds will no longer be donated.

On July 16, the Bath Elementary PTA will be hosting a golf tournament, silent auction, and bake sale to continue fundraising efforts. With live music and a free buffet, the event will take place from noon to 10 p.m. at the Bath Golf Club at 387 Whiskeag Road.

Those wishing to donate directly to RSU 1 can visit donorbox.org/dike-newell-school.

For more information on the golf, fundraiser visit facebook.com/DikeNewellSchool.

For t-shirts, visit facebook.com/saltybeachdesigns207

18-month-old Kinley Cassidy models her fundraiser t-shirt. Photo contributed by Meghan Cassidy.



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