Students have mixed reactions to renovations

The signs directing visitors to university buildings are some of the series of renovations that have taken place at USM this fall.
Patrick Higgins
The signs directing visitors to university buildings are some of the series of renovations that have taken place at USM this fall.

Posted on November 11, 2013 in News
By dakotawing

According to Executive Director of Facilities Management Robert Bertram over $7 million has been spent on renovation projects at USM this calendar year. This number will increase to over $12 million when the projects are totally finished. Some of the most recent projects have been the installation of the stamped asphalt outside Luther Bonney Hall and Masterton Hall in Portland, which cost $158,000.00, and repaving on the Gorham campus, which cost $191,008.

When students were asked how they felt about the large amount of money being put into cosmetic renovations, the majority agreed that they had hoped Facilities Management would spend money on more student-oriented projects, such as fixing the drafty windows in the dorms. First year undeclared major Caroline Doherty told the Free Press that work should be done on the elevator in Dickey Wood Hall, which has on multiple occasions gotten stuck with students inside.

Facilities Management has done over 100 projects in the 2013 calendar year. The next cosmetic renovation that they have planned and already funded is on the entrances to the science building, both the entrance off the courtyard and the entrance off of Falmouth street. Facilities Management will be renovating both of the entrances and plan on doing work to upgrade the interior space. “We’re going to break it up, replace the lighting, and make it look more appealing,” said Bertram.

When first year undeclared Stephen Colby was asked about his opinion on the renovations, he said, “I wish that they would spend less money on renovations and more money on the curriculum so we don’t have to lose classes.”

“I understand about spending money on the necessary stuff, like fixing the pipelines, because those were having problems,” Colby said. He also said that money should be spent on the curriculum so it would help the entire USM student populace, not just the students in the dorms or on putting in new stamped asphalt.

The risks of losing the physics the department was also troublesome to first year undeclared Emily Collins. “Physics is something you need. It’s too important to cut from the state university,” said Collins. Collins believes that if money could be spent to repave and improve the interior of the Science Building, that money could be more well placed trying to fix problems with the curriculum itself.

Facilities Management does not have any new projects planned for the rest of the 2013 calendar year. Planning for the 2014 calendar year will be taking place in early 2014. “We typically plan our projects beginning after the first of the calendar year to be done over the summer.” Bertram said

Other projects done by Facilities Management this year include the efficiency lighting program in Corthell Hall, which costed $400,000 over the span of three years. There was also a complete replacement of the boilers in Gorham costing $2.7 million. Some of these projects are not funded by the university. Projects such as the efficiency lighting program were paid by grants. The majority of the projects done at USM are done over the course of a couple years.

Sophomore math and physics major Alexander Knight, said “I wish they would spend money to make it better for the students already there as opposed to prettying it up for prospective students.” Furthermore, Knight said, “They should make the process better, not the advertising to get students in.”

USM Executive Director of Public Affairs Bob Caswell was contacted for a comment on student criticism of the renovations. He did not reply by press time.

Correction:
It was reported that over $7 million was spent on projects at USM this calendar year and that the number would increase to over $12 million when the projects were finished. The $7 million was spent on renovations projects for the calendar year, but not all of the money will be spent this year as some projects are ongoing. The $12 million includes projects occurring over three-year period.
It was also reported that the asphalt outside Luther Bonney Hall and Masterton Hall cost $158,000. That amount was actually spent on parking lot renovations and repaving throughout the Portland campus, of which that stamped asphalt courtyard was only a small part.