An anonymous gift of $10 million from the family of a University of Maine engineering graduate has been committed to help construct UMaine’s Engineering Education and Design Center (EEDC). The critical infrastructure will help meet Maine’s engineering workforce needs and address increased enrollment demands for UMaine’s high-caliber engineering programs.
The donation is the single largest capital gift in UMaine history, bringing UMaine’s Vision for Tomorrow campaign to over $148 million of the $200 million goal, according to University of Maine Foundation President Jeffery N. Mills.
“This investment builds on the remarkable growth and success of UMaine engineering, one of our seven Signature Areas of Excellence,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter. “We’ve seen a 70 percent growth in undergraduate enrollment in the College of Engineering since 2001. The Engineering Education and Design Center will help the College of Engineering expand its capacity to help meet student demand and Maine’s need for engineers.
“In addition to thanking our anonymous donors, we also thank the state Legislature and Gov. LePage for investing $50 million toward the construction of this much-needed facility,” Hunter says.
Members of the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board, alumni, friends and corporate donors have collectively contributed an additional $1 million in gifts and pledges toward the construction of this facility to date. Up to $19 million remains to be raised toward EEDC construction.
In December 2017, the team of WBRC Architects Engineers, based in Bangor, and Ellenzweig of Boston was selected to design EEDC, proposed to cost up to $80 million. Approval by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees of the full design and cost estimate of the center is planned for later this year.
Groundbreaking is anticipated in spring 2020, with completion in 2022.
The donors wish to remain anonymous at this time, preferring to focus attention on the critical need to build an interdisciplinary academic environment to help educate engineers who will be prepared to innovate solutions to the world’s most complex problems. The academic and laboratory building will be the heart of undergraduate engineering education, and the new homes of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.
The center’s new laboratories and classrooms will focus on team-based, hands-on experience to prepare graduates for engineering careers. The additional space will support modern, interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, and room for groups to work on senior capstone projects.
The new Engineering Education and Design Center (EEDC) will be sited on the current location of the Machine Tool Lab, located between Boardman and Barrows halls, with frontage along Long Road. The one-story Machine Tool Lab, built in 1936, currently houses teaching laboratory spaces and two classrooms, largely for the School of Engineering Technology. These functions will either be accommodated in EEDC or another facility in the engineering district.