There is plenty “new” about these two old buildings on the University of Maine at Machias campus. By late August when students, staff and faculty return, the interiors of both Torrey Hall and the Science Building will be more inviting than ever.
That’s because the buildings are undergoing an estimated $2.3 million in construction costs this summer. Torrey Hall is getting a complete renovation, as are several areas of the Science Building.
Financing for the improvements was generated by the bonds that Maine’s voters approved in last November’s referendum, which sought upgrades to all of Maine’s seven public university campuses.
"That $2.3 million is all gone," reported Robert Farris, UMM’s director of Physical Facilities, who oversees the project day-to-day. "You can bet that we are using absolutely all of it."
Starting with asbestos removal, the work began in mid-May – in fact, the day after UMM’s May Term classes ended on May 16. “It’s been busy, and it’s going to be even busier right through the third week of August,” Farris said. "We’ll then be moving all the furniture back in during the last week of August.”
The UMM community will see an entirely transformed Torrey.
Torrey Hall is a 48-year-old building, two stories and 30,000 square feet for classrooms for the professional and liberal arts programs. The current work will modernize the classrooms to current technology and standards. It will also address energy efficiency, deferred maintenance and critical safety and compliance issues.
The Science Building houses science laboratories and classrooms for the marine biology, biology and environmental science programs. Built 33 years ago, it’s a 25,000-square-foot, two-story brick building that needs modernized laboratories and critical safety and compliance issues.
The new-look buildings will feature “smart classrooms,” a popular development in higher education. “Smart” means that a classroom has an instructor station equipped with computer and audiovisual equipment. Such a high-tech set-up allows faculty to teach using a variety of media.