In response to Beth McIntyre’s letter in the Dec. 15 edition, we do use “common sense” with regard to spending taxpayer money, scheduling classes, and renovating and building new facilities. That is precisely why we are building new classroom space rather than a residence hall.
The new Health and Physical Education Complex will be first and foremost a classroom area for our strong programs in physical education, athletic training, and recreation. The pool is only one part of a much larger facility that will provide educational resources, as well as recreational space, for our students and members of the community.
The wisdom of investing in an additional residence hall is reviewed annually. While state funds may be used to help build and maintain classroom buildings, residence halls must be purely self-supporting and are, therefore, a much greater risk.
The university has been able to accommodate any entering freshman who has applied to live in the residence halls. For the past several falls, some upperclass students, 21 years of age or older, have been assigned to a local hotel. By the start of the spring semester, space on campus has been available for those students remaining. If a new residence hall were to be built at this time it would be under utilized and a financial burden.
Most of our students commute from within Aroostook County. As the County’s population decreases, we will need to recruit more students from downstate and out-of-state. The Health and Physical Education Complex will be a tremendous boost to accomplishing this task. As those numbers increase, the need for a new residence hall may become a reality. At that time, it would become a fiscally responsible venture that we would undertake.
Regarding the comments about class scheduling, when a problem appears it is generally because a student may have difficulty finding classes that fit into his or her personal schedule which often includes work, responsibilities at home, and a preference for evening or daytime classes. We schedule our classes as efficiently and effectively as possible. While I recognize the obligations shouldered by many of our students may limit the times they can attend classes, unfortunately we simply do not have the resources to meet every individual circumstance.
University of Maine Presque Isle