"Campus de Mita" is the interim name given to a multi-year, three-phase build program that reached its first funding milestone at the beginning of 2022. The Phase I, High School and Campus Infrastructure, is now fully funded. It is a cornerstone project for PEACE Punta de Mita.
Nearly three years ago, PEACE staff members worked with groups of townspeople and teaching authorities to assess the need for better student learning facilities beyond the primary grades. Shortly thereafter, PEACE Board Chair Ron Budacz identified key partners required for the project. Armed with a modest video and flip charts, he talked to select donors to assess their interest in funding a project of this magnitude.
“It was impossible to give guided tours of the grim teaching conditions of the middle and high schools just outside the Punta Mita gates,” Budacz said. “So I brought visuals of the one-room high school separated by a curtain to meetings in living rooms, patios, and coffee shops.” Potential donors couldn't imagine their children/grandchildren attempting to learn in such appalling environments; nearly all made financial pledges in the US$100 thousand-plus range. To date, more than 80 percent of pledgers fulfilled their verbal commitments with proceeds exceeding US$1 million.
Assured that funds could be raised, Budacz's task turned to finding project partners who shared his passion and sense of urgency to affect change. DINE, developer of Punta Mita, and Stone Contractors stepped up to the task, and directors with backgrounds in construction design and management joined the PEACE board. Added Budacz “It’s like a group of people working on a large jigsaw puzzle, requiring patience, tenacity, perseverance, and group-think!”
Phase I is planned for student occupation in late 2023, with Phase II (middle school) and Phase III (advanced learning and administration) to follow in future years.
Budacz feels grateful. "This is like a start-up company landing its first venture capital round!" Although, he was quick to add, more funding will be required as our “Campus de Mita” project grows. Seeing classrooms coming out of the ground will further establish credibility and instill pride, inspiring parents, students, and future donors to join the effort to recreate learning conditions for local children.
Watch for project updates in coming months.