PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With the snip of some ribbon, local legislators, students, faculty and staff at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Thursday afternoon ushered in $2 million worth of renovations that have transformed the college’s major classroom building into a more comfortable learning environment.
Last fall, voters approved funding for the Folsom Hall renovation project. As part of the bond question, UMPI received $1.4 million, along with an additional $600,000 from the University of Maine System, to complete the work.
The project was completed on time, on budget and using a work force from Aroostook County, UMPI President Don Zillman said during a ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
The project included installing energy-efficient windows, improving accessibility to the building to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, updating the hall’s aging heating and ventilation system and adding temperature control in UMPI’s major classroom building. Construction crews outfitted the building with new floors and ceilings and made changes to the exterior facade. A new computer lab with plush couches, pillows and workstations also has been added in Folsom Hall.
Zillman said that the newly insulated building would reduce fuel consumption by 25,000 gallons this year.
“When we first thought about what the building needed, we wanted to make sure that our students had a comfortable place to learn,” said Dave St. Peter, manager of physical facilities. “We had to complete lots of work to the infrastructure which is going to help provide sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint.”
Dr. Mike Knopp, the vice chairman of the College of Arts and Sciences, said during the ceremony that students not only would see changes as a result of the renovations, they also would hear them.
“There will be no more roaring univents in the classroom making it harder for students to hear,” he noted. “There also won’t be any loose linoleum tiles to worry about.”
UMPI student Chuck Weiss, who also serves as the president of the student senate, agreed.
“The majority of UMPI students use this classroom on a daily basis, so it has been difficult to learn in here in the past,” he said on Thursday. “The classes were sometimes noisy and the temperature was very difficult to control. This renovation was much needed and it turned out far better than expected.”