The Friends School of Portland is an independent preschool through 8th grade school located on Mackworth Island in Falmouth, Maine. The first school year for Friends School of Portland began in the fall of 2006.
More than half of all operating school districts in the U.S. are in rural areas. These small schools operate at a different scale and have different needs than their city counterparts. In 2003–2004, 20% of public schools in the U.S. served fewer than 200 students.
Although the Friends School of Portland—which was designed to achieve both zero energy performance and Passivhaus certification—is an independent school, it faced financial constraints similar to those faced by many other small schools throughout the country. The project was financed through a capital campaign and a mortgage that forced a hard cost cap on the project, so the project team had to be diligent about every dollar.