By: Liz Trudel, Staff Writer
USM community members may have witnessed the campus-wide exhibition of lawn signs, banners and handouts in support of Question 4. Less than three weeks remain until the November 2018 ballot, and USM is helping efforts to pass Question 4, a bond that poses a direct impact on USM students.
If approved, Question 4 would invest $49 million into the University of Maine System.
Just over $25 million million would be invested into USM, making it the biggest bond recipient.
“The bond will fund critically important investments that support our students’ success, prepare our graduates for great careers right here in Maine, and assist employers in filling critical jobs essential to growing their businesses and our “state economy,” the campaign page, Vote YES 4 Maine’s Workforce states.
According to the campaign website, the ballot question approval would “improve and expand classrooms and labs to provide modern education and training in sectors where Maine most needs workers, increase student recruitment and retention and the number of graduates ready for good-paying, high-growth Maine careers, and bring more students, jobs, investments and opportunities to University campuses and local communities.”
In a letter to the USM community, President Glenn Cummings stated, “On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Mainers will have the opportunity to vote for Question 4, a bond that is critically important to USM – transformational in fact.”
In the letter, Cummings addressed how the $25 million would be distributed in terms of improving the university:
With voter approval of Question 4, USM would invest 1.5 million into expanding nursing facilities. They would be able to build an additional four-bed high fidelity simulation center, doubling the size of the current center in Masterton Hall. This would in turn allow USM to accept more nursing students and to graduate an 250 additional nurses every five years.
The money from the bond would also go towards improving computer sciences, cybersecurity and technology. Half a million would go towards investing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, creating new classrooms and computer labs. Another half a million would go towards renovating engineering and computer science classrooms.
This would allow USM to “expand its electrical engineering program to include software engineering, as well as to introduce the first industrial engineering program in Maine.”
Of the $25 million that USM would receive from the bond, $19 million would go towards building a Student Success and Career Services Center in Portland. This building would take over the current Woodbury Student Center building, but would be built in a new location. The center would support students in providing them with career programming and advising, job placement, and career prep.
Cummings stated that part of the bond would also be put towards towards the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing needs of Luther Bonney and Bailey Hall. For example, it could be put towards addressing the heat problems in the classrooms over warmer seasons.
Additionally, part of the bond would be used towards the renovation of residence halls on the Gorham campus. This would include upgrades to older dorms such as Robie-Andrews, Upton-Hastings, Anderson and Woodward. A main aspect that would be addressed in the renovation are the lavatories. USM would invest 1.5 million into the residence hall upgrades.
“I hope you will join me in speaking in support of and voting Yes on Question 4…voting is among our most cherished rights of American citizenship,” stated Cummings in his community letter.
To find out more information about question 4 as well as other ballot questions, visit The Maine Ballot.