New UMFK welcome center will tie campus together
FORT KENT, Maine — More than 150 community stakeholders turned out Friday, Sept. 17, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the new University of Maine at Fort Kent Enrollment and Advancement Center was unveiled to the public.
Located on the east side of Pleasant Street, the welcome center will be the main face of the university and will unite two sections of campus buildings located on either side of the street.
“This building is beautiful inside and out,” UMFK Chief Business Officer Pam Ashby said. “From the strategic use and design of stone, wood and windows, to the fireplace visible from the street to the view of the mountain from the sitting area, this building truly delivers on the promise of creating a presence on Pleasant Street of which the entire community can be proud.”
The building will house the enrollment management office, admissions office, public relations office and UMFK Foundation office. It also maintains two conference rooms, several student workspaces, a kitchenette area, and lounge with a fireplace.
“Projects like the Enrollment and Advancement Center ensure that we can attract talent and resources to our campuses, which we know to be the very best pathway to a great Maine career and life in our Maine communities for our young people,” University of Maine System Trustee Kelly Martin said.
Trustees student representative Rajay Maragh said the Enrollment and Advancement Center “symbolizes the start of something new and uplifting at UMFK.”
“The building was built with steel beams, metal roofing, wood siding and large glass windows, but it is the heart and soul that will soon work in this building that will make it feel like home for students and visitors alike,” he said.
The center is the first element of a 2017 University facilities master plan, which is expected to be realized before 2037.
The plan suggests aesthetic and functional changes to the campus including the elimination of inefficient two-story properties such as Madawaska House and St. David House, which are used for office and classroom space.
Blake Library, Cyr Hall, Fox Auditorium and the Sport Center will all benefit from renovations if the plan is realized.
Eventually, the plan calls for erecting a new residence hall.
University of Maine at Fort Kent President Dr. Deborah Hedeen, Martin, Ashby and Maragh all thanked Maine voters and the 128th Legislature for passing the 2018 University of Maine System workforce development bond that provided funding for the Enrollment and Advancement Center.
“The students you have here today at the University of Maine at Fort Kent are the future of your community, your state, your country and beyond; but most importantly we are the future of this investment,” Maragh said.
Staff will begin relocating their offices to the new building this week.