January 31, 2003
St. John Valley businesses and organizations that require their people to travel frequently to attend meetings outside of the area now have another option as new technology added to Nadeau Hall on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus will provide Northern Maine with its most extensive teleconferencing facility.
Installation of the more that $300,000 of new equipment in the teleconference room at UMFK was recently completed, and campus officials are making the space and its amenities available to the campus and local region.
"Nadeau Hall Teleconference Center houses our most sophisticated conferencing systems. There is no other facility of its kind in this region. We are looking forward to hosting both campus and community groups in this state-of-the-art center," said Sharon Johnson, UMFK dean of information services.
The Teleconference Center can be used as one large independent multimedia and teleconferencing facility, or two smaller simultaneously operational facilities.
Its capabilities include cassette, CD, VCR, cable TV, and DVD playback as well as live audio and video teleconferencing. It can also display information, including the World Wide Web, from an existing onboard desktop computer, or a laptop computer brought by the presenter.
All of the video is displayed on three independently controlled five by six foot screens, and all of the audio comes to the audience through an impressive sound system, which is supported by 24 overhead microphones.
State-of-the-art teleconferencing cameras insure that no view of the room is inaccessible. Room equipment is operated through a simple podium mounted touch panel interface, allowing the presenter great ease of control over the facility.
Funding for new technology on the Fort Kent campus was appropriated by Maine voters November 2001 when they passed the University of Maine System's $36.7 million bond question. Of that figure $3.2 million was earmarked for UMFK to purchase technology for Nadeau Hall, to renovate Cyr Hall, and to build a new facility to house the Acadian Archives.
Installation of the new teleconferencing equipment began in late December and was recently completed.
The facility was unveiled to the University's Board of Visitors at their quarterly meeting held January 17. UMFK President Richard Cost made use of some of the new technology features of the teleconference room during his presentation on university budget challenges.
More recently, members of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council, a St. John Valley cultural preservation group, used the facility to conduct a presentation on the Maine Memory Network, an interactive website produced by the Maine Historical Society.
"The Nadeau Hall Teleconference Center was an ideal place to hold our session. The capabilities of this facility are outstanding. As both a member of the UMFK Board of Visitors and the St. John Valley community, I am pleased that we have access to such a top-notch center. This is a wonderful addition that will be of great benefit to both the campus and community," said Judy Paradis, Maine Acadian Heritage Council President.
In addition to the Teleconference Center, other technological components added to Nadeau Hall include comprehensive multi-media projection units and additional computer hardware in both the computer center and music classrooms, located in the portion of the building known as the Northern Aroostook Center for Technology.
St. John Valley area businesses and community groups wanting to make use of the new facility are encouraged to contact the UMFK facilities management office at (207) 834-7670.