UMS trustees to consider renovations, tenure and a new bachelor’s degree in information technology

Posted March 19, 2014, at 5:55 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine System’s board of trustees will meet on Sunday and Monday to consider proposals to upgrade facilities, tenure for 26 candidates and a new information technology program.

The information technology program would award students a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine, though students would take some classes at local community colleges. Information technology is “the study of specifying, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining computer-based information systems,” according to meeting materials.

The proposed facilities projects that the trustees will consider are:

— An expansion in the scope of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The trustees approved a $4.5 million expansion to construct facilities for testing wind turbines in 2012, which the university hopes to grow to $8 million. The new funds would come from a grant and bonds.

— A $1.2 million renovation of the Dearborn Gymnasium at the University of Maine-Farmington. The university has been planning for the renovation for years and has earmarked funds for it, according to meeting materials.

— A $1.2 million project to upgrade science classrooms and laboratories at the University of Maine-Presque Isle. The funds would come from bonds approved last November.

— A proposal to move the University College-Saco Center from its location on Saco Island to the Saco Valley Shopping Center. The new space is about half the size and, at $48,960, about one-third cheaper to rent per year. The renovation and move would cost the University of Maine-Augusta $200,000.

In February, the UMS finance, facilities and technology committee received a report from a facilities consultant that implored the system to invest more in renovating existing structures and reduce the system’s physical footprint across its seven campuses.

The proposal to create a new program at USM comes at a time when the university is proposing to phase out four existing programs — American and New England studies, geosciences, arts and humanities at the school’s Lewiston-Auburn College facility, and recreation and leisure studies.

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