University of Maine’s new $ 78 million engineering building nears completion
78 UMaine graduates were involved in different phases of the project. The building will help increase the number of registrations in the engineering department by up to 50%.
ORONO, Maine – A new $ 78 million engineering building at the University of Maine in Orono is nearing completion. Students from the eleven engineering and technology majors will be able to come and work together at the center.
The project started in May 2020 and is expected to be completed by August 2022. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and classrooms for engineering students and faculty.
“Engineers and IT people are essential. We don’t have enough of them. This will allow us to increase our capacity,” said Dana Humphrey, dean of engineering at UMaine. “This building will give us the capacity to take and increase our workforce by 50%, it will give us this capacity!”
Currently, approximately 350 engineering students graduate per year. With this new building, “we should be able to get up somewhere around 450 to 500,” Humphrey added.
“We are not just going to increase in size in terms of the number of students; we are also going to increase in size in terms of faculty and staff, to make sure that we still have a reasonable student / faculty ratio,” Masoud said. Rais. -Rohani, professor and holder of the chair of mechanical engineering.
Rais-Rohani, who has been teaching at UMaine for five years, says they lack modern labs to teach students, but the center will have them and more.
Humphrey tells NEWS CENTER Maine that he is very proud of this project, in part because 78 UMaine graduates were involved in different phases of its creation.
He adds that the “key” to the building will be the first floor, where there will be a student design suite, 48 established, and the entire space will be surrounded by a wide variety of stores.
“We have biomedical engineering, electronics, 3D printing workshops, tool cradle, vehicle workshop, metallurgy workshop, carpentry workshop, and composites workshop,” Humphrey said.
One of these former students is Matthew Tonello. He is Consigli Construction’s Project Manager for the new UMaine Engineering Center and Director of Operations for Consigli in Maine.
“Knowing that I graduated from the University of Maine in the early 90s and being able to come back and build an engineering building for the school was absolutely amazing,” said Tonello.
Consigli was hired to build the center. The company called on specialized contractors for the various phases of the building, from mechanics to electricity, including foundations.
Design-wise, the center has 42,000 bricks, 3,875 cubic meters of concrete in the foundation and floor slabs and 670 tonnes of structural steel.
“This is the largest project the University of Maine has built on its campus. We’ve been working on it for just over a year, about 75% complete!” said Tonello.
Tonello says they are pretty much closed and are now starting interior work on the project. He says COVID hasn’t delayed construction as University of Maine officials decided to go ahead and work with “the new normal.” “Knowing that we would be working outside the building in open spaces for at least a year,” Tonello said.
Fortunately, pricing and material availability weren’t an issue either.
“We were able to buy the project very early in the pandemic when there was not a lot of construction bought on the market in terms of subcontractors bidding, so it was a very opportune time to buy the work,” Tonello said. “We were able to buy the steel bundle before the steel prices escalated, and we were able to purchase the lumber for the project long before the lumber escalation started! “
The modern facility will provide students with more working and learning space and better equipment for hands-on learning. The dean of engineering says it will be the best space of its kind in the Northeast.
“They don’t need to leave the state of Maine [students] to get the level of education that you provide here in the state and I think that’s very important, I think once they see the modern facilities that we have, I think it reduces the temptation that I have to leave the state to get a better education, that’s not true, we can provide the best education they will have here in the state, ”said Rais-Rohani.