June 20, 2018
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UMaine breaks ground on $1.2M research facility addition

Photo courtesy of UMaine
Photo courtesy of UMaine
Participating in Tuesday's groundbreaking (left to right) Pingree Associates President Steve Schley, a member of the FBRI advisory board; UMaine student Paige Case; UMaine chemical and biological engineering professor Hemant Pendse, the director of FBRI; UMaine President Robert Kennedy; Maine Technology Institute President Betsy Biemann and UMaine chemical and biological engineering professor Darrell Donahue, building committee chair.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday at the University of Maine for a 3,300-square-foot addition to Jenness Hall, which houses the Forest Bio-products Research Institute.

Construction on the $1.2 million project is expected to begin this summer on the northwest corner of the building. The new facility will expand programming and outreach capacity, according to a press release issued Monday.

“This new wing will provide space for our students, staff and faculty members to work together, and to work with our vital partners,” UMaine President Robert Kennedy said at the groundbreaking. “As we pursue the important mission of FBRI — working toward new and sustainable uses for forest products — the need for these collaborations will only increase. Maine is a small state, but there’s no limit on what we can accomplish when we combine resources and share expertise.”

Much of the institute’s work is collaborative and includes several academic programs at the university, industry partners and research institutions, the president said.

The cost of the addition will include equipment, according to UMaine spokesman Joe Carr.

The project is being funded by the Maine Technology Asset Fund, a competitive award program funded by voter-approved bonds, Kennedy said Tuesday.

The new wing will include space for various uses, including areas where technical staff will work with visiting researchers and industrial collaborators on bioproducts and the processes necessary to develop them. Training space, videoconferencing facilities and office space will also be included.

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