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UMaine Engineering Students Build New Ramp for Old Town Museum

Contact: Dick Eustis, (207) 827-2238; Tom Weber, (207) 581-3777

The Old Town Museum is a modest operation that exists on donations and the generosity of volunteers. So when the time came to replace the building’s wheelchair ramp, which was in terrible shape and no longer met accessibility standards, the museum board faced a tough financial decision.

“Building a new ramp was a big, expensive task for us, but it needed to be done,” says Dick Eustis, the board’s president.

Fortunately, help was just down the road, at the University of Maine. The student chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Associated General Contractors are always on the lookout for projects they can do as part of their community service mission. When they heard about the museum’s need, they decided to donate their time and talent to the cause.

Led by third-year mechanical engineering major Drake Voisine, the service project coordinator, the students designed a new, longer ramp and prepared a list of materials that the museum paid for. About 10 students tore apart the old ramp’s framework one weekend, and resurfaced it with the help of a local contractor. The following Saturday, Nov. 17, nearly 20 different students chipped in to build the sturdy, pressure-treated wood replacement.

“I think it was a good experience for everyone,” says Voisine, who is from St. Francis.

Eustis couldn’t agree more. Without expensive labor costs, he figures the local history museum saved about $2,200 on the project.

“Obviously we’re very grateful for everything they did,” Eustis says.

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