CASTINE, Maine — Maine Maritime Academy will conduct a ceremonial groundbreaking Saturday on a $14 million classroom and lab facility.

Prompted by growing enrollment, the ABS Center for Engineering, Science and Research will be the first new classroom facility built on campus in 30 years.

“Enrollment at MMA has expanded from 650 to 950 full-time students over the last 15 years. During that time, there has been little expansion of educational facilities on our campus,” said Dr. William J. Brennan, president of Maine Maritime Academy. “The new facility is an investment in our students, in the technology necessary for the specialized education we provide, and in the industry-relevant research our faculty and students are immersed in here on campus.”

The ceremonial shovel turning will be held as part of the MMA Homecoming festivities at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, on the lawn below the Alfond Student Center.

The new building will be a hub for joint student/faculty research projects, including low-emissions biofuels development and testing, wind turbine design, tidal and wave hydrokinetic devices, and ocean studies research, according to a press release issued by MMA on Monday.

The college has raised $6.1 million in philanthropic gifts and pledges for the project and received a $3.4 million matching grant from a donor wishing to remain anonymous.

“Gifts, pledges and challenge grants from private sources represent about 65 percent of the cost of the new building,” Vice President for Advancement Ellie Willmann said in the MMA press release. “Contributions have come from industries employing our graduates, from our alumni and from foundations who know the value of the investment to our state.”

Robert J. Peacock II, the chairman of the MMA Board of Trustees added that the board was striving to complete fundraising in the coming months so that construction can begin in the spring and classes in the new structure can start in 2015.

For more information, visit