Fundraiser to buy Academy extended

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The Fort Vancouver National Trust is getting an additional 13 months to raise funds for its purchase of Vancouver's historic Academy, through January 2015.

The original agreement was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

The Academy Campaign originally launched its $10.6 million fundraising effort on May 1, 2012 to purchase the Academy and its 6.9 surrounding acres at 400 E. Evergreen Blvd. in downtown Vancouver.

More than 800 donors have contributed $4.1 million so far to purchase the Academy, adjacent to the Fort Vancouver National Site.

Ed Lynch, campaign chairman, launched the campaign with a personal gift of $2 million.

"Over the years I have been privileged to support many important efforts in our community. However, in my view there is no more important undertaking than the acquisition and preservation of the Academy," Lynch said in a National Trust news release.

The brick structure, once known as Providence Academy, was built in 1873 by Mother Joseph, 17 years after a small group of the Sisters of Providence arrived in Vancouver from Montreal, Canada. It served as a school until its closure in 1966.

In 1969, the Academy was purchased by Robert Hidden. His grandfather, Lowell Hidden, supplied the bricks for the Academy's construction. Robert Hidden's sons Bill, Oliver and Monte contributed to the purchase of the Academy and have served as its stewards for more than 40 years.