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UMFK gearing up for grand openings

July 23, 2004

NR04139

The University of Maine at Fort Kent is making final preparations for the official dedications and grand openings of two newly constructed buildings.

The first celebration will be the opening of the new, 47,595 square foot Residence Hall on Thursday, August 19, 2004 at 3:00 p.m. The ceremony will take on a festive winter tone.

"The opening of the new residence hall marks the beginning of a promising year for UMFK. This beautiful building represents our bright future," said President Richard Cost. "It is essential in order for us to meet the needs of the growing number of students who want to study right here in Northern Maine. It is without a doubt the most attractive student residence hall I have ever seen," added Cost.

The new residence hall houses 150 beds, which more than doubles the previous availability of on-campus housing at UMFK.

Incorporated into the design is a number of suite-style arrangements and air conditioning in part of the building to accommodate for expanded summer programming at the university.

The $7 million project was funded through a University of Maine System bond that is to be paid back with revenue from housing fees of students who occupy the new building.

The second celebration, which will be held in conjunction with Come to Campus Days, will be the opening of the new Acadian Archives facility. The more traditional culture-centered ceremony will take place Friday, September 17, 2004 at 3:00 p.m.

The $1.4 million, 7,584 square foot, two-story building was constructed as a connector building between Powell Hall and Blake Library.

"The Acadian Archives building symbolizes our roots and close ties to our local community. The building will serve as the preeminent site for scholars of our unique culture and for genealogy researchers alike," said President Cost. "Preserving and celebrating our Acadian culture is one of the cornerstones of our mission," added Cost.

The state-of-the-art facility includes a conference room, reading room, work room, Archives reference desk, a bank of computers, research materials stacks, and Archives personnel space on the first floor. The second story will consist of a collections area, accessioning room, and administrative offices for university information resources personnel.

The project was made possible by Maine voters who passed a $36.7 million higher education bond in November 2001, which included $3.2 million for UMFK to purchase technology for Nadeau Hall, to renovate Cyr Hall, and to build the new Acadian Archives facility.

With the additional efforts and support of Maine's Congressional Delegation, the University of Maine at Fort Kent also received $425,000 to assist in the construction of a new building to house the Archives and to preserve documents and artifacts within the facility.

The Acadian Archives was founded in 1990 at UMFK to document, preserve, celebrate, and disseminate information about the history and cultural heritage of Maine's St. John Valley.

The Archives collects manuscripts and audio/visual materials relevant to the history, folklore, and folk-life of the region. It also has a library of reference books and other publications, including U.S. and Canadian census records for the Valley and microfilm editions of local newspapers.

Both the UMFK residence hall building and Acadian Archives project were designed by Port City Architecture of Portland.

Port City offers a comprehensive range of interdisciplinary architectural services specializing in the institutional and commercial design markets.

Pizzagalli Construction Company, one of the nation's largest privately owned contractors, constructed the residence hall facility. The company, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, has an office in South Portland, Maine.

Pizzagalli offers general contracting, construction management and design/build services to private and public clients on a diverse grouping of projects ranging in size from $500,000 to over $100 million.

Completing the site work on the residence hall is a local firm, Soderberg of Caribou. Concrete work on the facility is being done by Norman Plourde and Sons Masonry of Fort Kent.

Aroostook County construction firm J.P. Martin and Sons of Caribou constructed the Acadian Archives facility.

Completing the subcontracted site work for the Archives is Aroostook County firm Trombley Construction of Presque Isle. Masse Construction of Caribou was hired to do the concrete work.