The event provided community members with their first opportunity to view the renovation work that was done at Folsom Hall, which includes three floors of science labs, computer labs, traditional classrooms, and the University’s major lecture hall. Construction crews outfitted the building with new floors, windows, ceilings, ADA accessible bathrooms, exterior facades, and updated heating and ventilation systems. A&L Construction of Presque Isle served as the general contractor on the renovation project and North Peak Architecture of Presque Isle completed the architectural work. The renovations, the first significant improvements Folsom Hall has received since it was built in 1966, have provided vastly improved educational facilities for students and faculty.
“We are so pleased to be able to say that the University kept its promise to move quickly on this major building improvement project, spend our money wisely, and bring construction jobs to the area,” President Don Zillman said. “And we’re delighted to be celebrating the hard work completed by County workers – on time and on budget – with this official Rededication Ceremony. This work is providing a much improved learning environment for our students and the community.”
President Zillman led the afternoon’s ceremony, which included greetings from Barry McCrum on behalf of the University of Maine System’s Board of Trustees; project history and details by Charles Bonin, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Dave St. Peter, Manager of Physical Facilities; and sentiments from Dr. Mike Knopp, Vice Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Chuck Weiss, Student Senate President, about what the building improvements mean to faculty members and students.
President Zillman, Bonin and St. Peter also presented a token of appreciation to the construction team in order to recognize the amazing effort the crew put forth in completing the project on time and on budget, with as minimal a disruption as possible to faculty and students.
The event ended with an official ribbon cutting ceremony in which President Zillman declared the Folsom Hall renovation work officially completed and ready for many more years of campus and community use.
Major funding for the Folsom Hall renovation project was approved by voters last fall. Bond Question 3 asked whether voters would spend $43.5 million for brick and mortar improvements at universities and colleges across the state. The University stood to receive $1.4 million, along with an additional $600,000 from the University of Maine System. On Nov. 6, the question passed with 51 percent support statewide; in Aroostook County, support was significantly higher for the initiative, at 55.6 percent. The University had promised that if Question 3 passed, renovation work would begin as soon as physically possible. Initial work began four months later, in March, and was completed this fall – less than a year after voters approved funding for the work.
Following the ceremony and ribbon cutting, attendees were encouraged to take tours of Folsom Hall so they could explore the building from top to bottom and see the major building improvements first-hand.