By: Emma J. Walsh, Staff Writer
Last week, USM President Glenn Cummings sent an email declaring the new vision for USM’s Lewiston Auburn location that involves a relocation of the campus. The Lewiston Auburn Campus is currently on Westminster Street on the outskirts of Lewiston. Cummings said in the email that the USM Lewiston Auburn Campus will be relocating to historic downtown Lewiston. This decision was made at a meeting with Lewiston-Auburn College faculty and staff, Provost Jeannine Uzzi, Chief Operations Officer Nancy Griffin, and President Cummings.
President Cummings stated the reasoning behind the move in the email saying, “I believe strongly that relocating our Lewiston-Auburn campus to downtown Lewiston will provide meaningful new opportunities and possibilities that will better meet the needs of the Androscoggin region and the people who live there.”
President Cummings discussed the benefits of the relocation of the LAC campus. These include increased accessibility and visibility of LAC’s programs and core curricula offerings, the ability to work closely with USM’s business and nonprofit partners, more opportunities for local high school students, such as the Early College program, which includes dual enrollment classes that allow high school students to earn college credits, and the increased accessibility to LAC’s Occupational Therapy Clinic for both residents and students alike.
In addition to the relocation, there is also a new academic vision for LAC being led by Provost Uzzi. According to President Cumming’s email, this vision includes “…responding to regional needs in healthcare delivery,…working with the University of Maine at Augusta to expand academic offerings…, as well as ensure that our new location includes crucial space for both our Senior College and our Franco-American Collection.”
President Cummings estimates that the process of relocating the LAC campus will take three years. To follow through with this outcome, the decision will also need the University of Maine System Board of Trustees’ approval. The current LAC campus will also need to be sold, and a new space in downtown Lewiston will need to be bought and prepared. President Cummings also disclosed in the email that there are already many spaces in downtown Lewiston available as a possible future campus.
President Cummings concluded the email saying, “…Our commitment to LAC and the Androscoggin region is strong and unwavering. When all is said and done, we will have a more vibrant LAC, more engaged with the community and better suited to meeting the needs of its people and employers.”
LAC Dean of Students Brian Toy stated, “…the campus provides an array of both academic and student services…[and] is also home to undergraduate nursing majors, the Lewiston Auburn Senior College, and USM’s Franco-American Collection…Thus…through its major offerings…academic programming and student service functions, provide[s] a vital resource to all who live, work, and go to school in the greater Lewiston Auburn region. Providing the proper infrastructure to support these endeavors is necessary as a new vision for USM’s Lewiston Auburn presence emerges.”
In this week’s Monday Missive, President Cummings gave an update on the status of the relocation, saying “Last Friday, the new vision was presented to our Board of Visitors (BOV), which includes several community leaders from the L/A region. At the meeting, held at LAC, the BOV voiced their strong enthusiasm for the plans.”