UMaine’s Paint, Plant and Polish Initiative Enters its Second Year

The University of Maine’s Paint, Plant and Polish Program, which began last year as a Presidential Initiative, continues to improve the UMaine campus as part of the Blue Sky Plan Pathway 5, chaired by UMaine alumnus John Rohman and co-chaired by Stewart Harvey, executive director of facilities and capital management services.

To improve campus infrastructure and appearance, UMaine President Paul Ferguson initially reallocated approximately $2.5 million. This funding was derived from energy cost-savings realized through improved utility and fuel contracts, increased campuswide efficiencies, as well as overall cost reductions on a one-time basis. Paint, Plant and Polish now will be sustained annually by approximately $320,000 from the newly endowed Hosmer Fund in the University of Maine Foundation.

This first year included more than a dozen campus buildings and academic areas identified as improvement and deferred maintenance priorities by the deans of UMaine’s colleges, including the Honors College, as well as staff of Facilities Management. More than $1.6 million is earmarked for classroom upgrades and improving accessibility, and approximately $800,000 will be directed for painting and minor maintenance to preserve the integrity of campus buildings, including UMaine’s “legacy assets.” Much of the work began last summer and employed numerous local Maine painting and construction companies, as well as elevator, furniture and equipment suppliers.

Paint, Plant and Polish is a four-pronged approach to infrastructure improvement, focusing on classroom upgrades, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades, energy-saving initiatives and painting projects. Many are aimed at addressing deferred maintenance that has resulted from decades of budget cuts. All will improve the quality of life for students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus, according to Janet Waldron, UMaine’s senior vice president for administration and finance.

“How the campus looks really matters,” Waldron says. “We have a beautiful campus with legacy buildings. The benefit of these investments is improved aesthetics, higher quality classrooms, more accessible facilities, and an enhanced impression of campus for visitors and prospective students.

“Proper stewardship of our infrastructure is important, but also because it makes financial sense. Maintenance costs quadruple if not timely executed,” Waldron says. “Facilities Management is pleased to partner in the initiatives of the Blue Sky Project to care for UMaine’s irreplaceable campus assets, such as Fogler Library.”

Among the buildings slated for improvements:

  • Estabrooke Hall, where the first floor is being renovated for office space for Honors College faculty and the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE), as well as an interactive, general-purpose classroom with sophisticated audiovisual equipment. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2013.
  • Fogler Library, which will receive exterior painting and partial first-floor renovation to create additional collaborative academic space for student study groups. Painting was completed last summer and renovations are planned for this summer.
  • Crosby Lab, where an elevator will be installed to provide handicapped access to the second floor, and restrooms will be renovated to meet ADA guidelines. The project is expected to be completed this summer.
  • Clapp Greenhouse, which will receive some upgrades in the south end teaching area. The project is expected to be completed this spring.
  • D.P. Corbett, which received exterior painting last summer, and where desks and seating in two first-floor classrooms will be replaced. The project is expected to be completed this summer.

In addition to the projects associated with the Paint, Plant and Polish Program, several other capital projects are under way that will significantly enhance the UMaine campus, including a $5.2 million Astronomy Center in 2013. Other capital improvement projects:

  • Nutting Hall received a $3.95 million energy upgrade with roof, insulation, façade and window replacements. Construction was completed in late summer.
  • Alumni Hall will receive an estimated $495,000 second-floor renovation and repurposing to relocate the Division of Marketing and Communications from the Keyo Building. While the renovation will address safety, structural and access issues, it will also enable the strategic relocation of Marketing and Communications consistent with the Blue Sky Pathways 2 and 3 through enhanced synergies resulting from the proximity to Enrollment Management, Academic Affairs and Research. Renovation to this historic building will be accomplished in summer 2013 and make available the Keyo Building to support the strategic procurement initiative.
  • Memorial Gym and New Balance Field House will receive a $15 million renovation, made possible by a state-backed revenue bond, gifts from New Balance, the Harold Alfond Foundation, and several other private donors, including Tom and Sally Savage. Renovations are expected to begin May 13.
  • A $6.4 million Wind and Wave Research Facility will be built as a 12,000-square-foot addition to the Offshore Wind Laboratory of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The facility will house a robotics laboratory for the manufacture of wind blade components and a 10-meter by 30-meter freshwater basin for testing scale models of scale-model turbines. The 5-meter deep basin will be equipped with wind and wave generators. The facility is funded by a $2.9 million EDA grant and a $3.5 million match from UMaine. Construction will begin in March and is expected to be completed this fall.

Regular updates on projects in the Paint, Plant and Polish Program, as well as other major projects associated with Pathway 5 to promote our stewardship of place at UMaine can be found on the Blue Sky Implementation website.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745