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University of Maine unveils $110m venue masterplan

A new 3,000-seat multi-purpose arena forms part of a $110m (£78.8m/€91.1m) masterplan outlined by the University of Maine to transform its sports facilities.

The project will look to provide modern facilities for all 17 varsity programmes at the university. The 3,000-seat arena would become the new home of UMaine’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The news comes after the Harold Alfond Foundation last year announced a $500m investment in Maine and its people. The University of Maine System will receive $240m over 10 to 12 years as part of the pledge, including $90m in support for its athletics facilities master plan. A campaign has been launched to raise the remaining $20m for the project.

The new arena will also feature new locker rooms, team offices, lounges and film rooms, as well as administrative offices, a new location for a fan shop and a new sports medicine centre.

The project also includes significant improvements to the university’s 8,400-seat Alfond Stadium, including a new turf surface on Morse Field, a more intimate experience with enclosing one end zone and tightening the bleachers closer to the playing field.

Further upgrades will be made at Alfond Arena, while the Shawn Walsh Hockey Center will also be expanded. New synthetic turf fields will also be added for the women’s soccer, field hockey and softball teams, and a new Speed Dome facility will be built.

Additionally, a new turf surface will be fitted at Mahaney Diamond and a second new indoor dome facility will be built with 60% more indoor space than the current structure. The Memorial Gymnasium will also be renovated.

UMaine expects to begin work on the plan with small upgrades this summer before beginning construction on the new fields in the summer of 2022. Priority will be given to projects that advance gender equity, such as the UMaine Soccer Stadium.

UMaine Athletics has partnered with JLG Architects to develop the 10-year facilities master plan, which has been constructed to develop facilities that can support a range of campus programming such as academic conventions, music and arts events and ROTC activities.

UMaine president Joan Ferrini-Mundy said: “We are going to build outstanding athletic facilities to support our Black Bear athletes and students and youth from all over the state.

“Wins for our athletic programme and all the work we do to advance the initiatives supported by the Harold Alfond Foundation will include inclusion and community building. We are Maine’s public universities and everyone will be welcome to engage in our programmes, use our facilities, and contribute to our success.”

Image: University of Maine/JLG Architects