PRESQUE ISLE – A shovel “ceremoniously manipulated” ground Monday as work began on a new library and conference center at the Northern Maine Technical College.
The structure, being built as an addition to the Christie Building, is funded by $3 million approved as part of the 1999 bond issue referendum.
“This project will help us better serve our students, the people of Aroostook County and the state of Maine,” said Durwood Huffman, president of the college, during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Earth work already has started on the construction of the 17,000-square-foot building.
During his comments, the president recalled first coming to the college years ago and asking why the library was so small.
Completion of the new facility will double the size of the library, bringing the resource up to the standard set for two-year colleges, according to Huffman.
In addition, the building will house the telecommunications infrastructure that gives students access to information from libraries across the state and databases throughout the nation and the world.
The library also will house small workrooms to accommodate students working in teams, a skill Huffman said the college is promoting.
“Students who are grouped in teams tend to stay in college,” Huffman said.
Another feature of the new facility is a 200-seat conference center that can be divided into three separate spaces. The second floor will be used for the college’s business and industry department.
The existing library facility will be turned into an expanded learning center and computer lab, where tutorial and counseling services will be available.
The overall project is scheduled to be completed in about year.
The project’s architect is Portland Design Team and Baird Farm Studio of Mapleton. The general contractor is PNM Construction of Presque Isle.