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University of Maine System Receives $15.5 Million

University of Maine System to receive $15.5 million for facility renovation

By Cameron Paquette
Posted on Nov. 10, 2013, at 10:04 p.m.

Derrick Rossignol, Editor-in-Chief

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As a result of the Nov. 5 Maine Referendum Election, schools in the University of Maine System will receive a total of $15.5 million to renovate and update various facilities on those campuses, $5.5 million of which will go to the University of Maine.  

Question 2 passed with a Yes vote. The question read, “Do you favor a $15,500,000 bond issue to enhance educational and employment opportunities for Maine citizens and students by updating and improving existing laboratory and classroom facilities of the University of Maine System statewide?”  

The money will go toward renovating facilities related to the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — which have seen increased enrollment in recent years. 

“These funds will be specifically dedicated to improving facilities and enhancing equipment vital to the courses taught in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, now collectively known as STEM disciplines,” University of Maine President Paul Ferguson wrote in an article for the Bangor Daily News published on Oct. 30.  

Approximately 10,000 square feet of laboratory and classroom space will be renovated, which will help UMaine remain competitive with other top engineering schools. Funding from other sources has enabled some facilities to be built or improved in recent years.  

“Teaching and laboratory space on the Orono campus dedicated to STEM learning is targeted for renovation,” Ferguson wrote. “A number of excellent teaching and research spaces have been constructed or renovated from external research funding, donor contributions and limited state bond programs to provide the legacy of excellent science education and research for faculty and students.”  

However, some facilities have not been renovated in half a decade, according to Ferguson.  

“[C]lose to 90 percent of the space located in some of the oldest STEM facilities on campus has not been substantially renovated in approximately 50 years or more, including Little Hall, Neville Hall, Bennett Hall, Barrows Hall, Aubert Hall, Boardman Hall, Crosby Lab and Hitchner Hall that still serve up to 2,200 students annually in the pursuit of their chosen fields of study,” he wrote.  

Ferguson argues that updating these facilities will not only help the University of Maine, but the state as a whole.  

“Lastly, the funds received from this bond issue will help ensure the future success of these programs, the continued recruitment and retention of students from across the world, and, ultimately, increases in the state of Maine’s economy,” he wrote.  

The remaining $10 million will be allocated to other schools in the University of Maine System.  Four million dollars will go toward laboratory renovation at the University of Southern Maine, while $1.2 million will be given to the University of Maine at Augusta for upgrading science and nursing labs at the Augusta and Bangor locations, to the University of Maine at Farmington for renovation of science facilities, to the University of Maine at Fort Kent for forestry GIS technology and an expansion of the nursing lab, to the University of Maine at Machias for improvements to Powers Hall and lab improvements in science buildings, and to the University of Maine at Presque Isle for upgrading space and equipment for STEM facilities.

For more information, please contact the
Office of Alumni Relations. Call 207.780.4110
or email alum@usm.maine.edu.