Sultana Education Foundation Expands Its Campus

The Sultana Education Foundation (SEF) has purchased 306 Cannon Street, a 3,000 square-foot mixed-use building in downtown Chestertown, to provide expanded housing and office space for the foundation’s staff. Located directly adjacent to SEF’s Holt Education Center, and a short walk from the schooner Sultana and the foundation’s new Lawrence Wetlands Preserve, 306 Cannon Street is a major addition to the organization’s Chestertown Campus and will support future expansion of the foundation’s Environmental Literacy Programs for regional schools.

Sultana Education Foundation recently purchased the building located next door to Sultana’s Holt Education Center. The bottom floor will feature office space, a visitor’s area and retail store, while the upstairs will house new staff members in two separate apartments.

“While most people know us for the schooner Sultana, over the past decade SEF has expanded its programs well beyond the Sultana,” commented Board Chairman Rob Hindman. “Adding 306 Cannon Street to our facilities is important for the continued growth of our school programs and staff.”

The purchase of 306 Cannon Street was funded in part by a legislative bond initiative co-sponsored by state senator Steven Hershey and delegates Jay Jacobs, Jeff Ghrist, and Steven Arentz, and supported by the Kent County Commissioners and the Mayor and Council of Chestertown. SEF also received significant funding from the Merrill Family Foundation, the Indian Point Foundation, and a handful of private donors.

“The chance to purchase 306 Cannon Street came unexpectedly, during a time when the organization’s resources were already stretched with a significant capital project at our new Lawrence Wetlands Preserve,” said SEF President Drew McMullen. “The Legislature and our other backers recognized this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity and really stepped up to the plate. It couldn’t have happened without them.”

In addition to providing space for staff housing and expanded offices, 306 Cannon Street will host a small visitors’ center and retail space. “With our Holt Center hosting more than 4,000 students annually, and ever-increasing foot-traffic driven by our role as a contact center for the National Park Service, we occasionally struggle to find room to welcome unscheduled visitors,” said Liza Brocker, Sultana’s Director of Public Programs. “306 Cannon Street won’t replace the public component of the Holt Center, but it will give us a new venue where we can reliably welcome guests without interfering with our core programs.” As a non-program facility, 306 Cannon Street will remain on the tax rolls for both Chestertown and Kent County.

The building at 306 Cannon Street has one of the more interesting histories of any structure in Chestertown. Built in the early 1900s as a duplex in the 400 block of Cannon Street, the building served for many years as the headquarters of a local lumber yard before making headlines in 1997 when it was rolled down the street to its current location under the auspices of the building’s previous owner Paula Reeder. “I could not be more delighted that the foundation will now utilize 306 Cannon Street to both affordably house staff and showcase its invaluable environmentally focused educational programs benefiting students and residents throughout the State,” said Paula.” This is truly a perfect match up of neighboring historic properties in Downtown Chestertown to fulfill that purpose.”

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