BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Community College System board of trustees formally ratified Wednesday the acquisition of deeds to a second major parcel of land and buildings at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.
The acquisition, together with a parcel that was transferred by the federal government to the system in July, has a replacement value of $78 million and includes a total of five buildings and 20 acres of land. The property is home to the new midcoast campus of Southern Maine Community College.
The buildings include a modern residence hall; a health center; and classroom, laboratory and office space. The federal government transferred the property to the MCCS for $1 for each of the two parcels. A general obligation bond approved by Maine voters in June 2010 will provide $4.75 million to fund necessary improvements to the facilities and the site.
Southern Maine Community College has a current enrollment of more than 7,400 students and has run out of room to expand at its South Portland campus. When fully operational, SMCC’s midcoast campus is expected to serve an additional 2,000 community college students each year.
“This acquisition provides an extraordinary opportunity for SMCC to meet the intense demand for its programs of study, expand access to higher education, and support economic development throughout the midcoast region,” noted SMCC President Ronald Cantor.
One hundred students are currently enrolled in academic programs at the midcoast campus that include pre-engineering, composites, nursing, business and liberal studies. Heavy equipment maintenance and several other certificate and degree programs will be offered at the campus beginning in the fall of 2012.
In addition, the Maine Advanced Technology and Engineering Center, a partnership between the University of Maine and SMCC, will offer seamless educational opportunities, starting with an associate degree and leading to both a baccalaureate and master’s degree in engineering. MATEC also will serve as a research and development magnet for both established companies and start-ups in composites, engineering, precision manufacturing and advanced energy systems.
“The closure of the Brunswick Naval Air Station was a serious blow to the midcoast and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs,” MCCS President John Fitzsimmons said in a prepared statement issued Wednesday. “Today we’re seeing the silver lining of that bad situation: a new college campus that will provide Maine people and Maine businesses with the technical skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing economy.”