UMaine will upgrade its athletic facilities for its Orono campus thanks to an $80 million donation just announced.
This latest gift is part of a continuing partnership with the Harold Alfond Foundation, which gave $90 million to UMaine’s athletic department four years ago.
The funds will support several projects — including the construction of the Morse Arena, a future multipurpose arena to showcase basketball and other athletic teams.
“The fact that we’re going to play basketball on campus somewhere other than Memorial Gym is pretty earth-shattering,” said UMaine athletic director Jude Killy. “Memorial Gym] has been our home since 1933 basically. [For] men’s and women’s basketball [to play] in a brand, new multipurpose arena, it’s a really big move to support our student athletes here on campus and also give all of our fans a more modern environment and experience.”
Additionally, Alfond Stadium will be renovated to add new visiting sideline bleachers. The university plans on expanding UMaine hockey’s Shawn Walsh Center by 13,000 square feet with the construction of strength and conditioning facilities, film rooms, and other features. School officials say the funds will ensure UMaine athletics remain competitive with other Division I programs.
“I think every student-athlete is going to benefit in some capacity as well as our coaches,” Kinny said. “Whether that’s [by] moving out of old space into new space. But part of what I’m really excited about [are] the benefits to the entire university. [The planned renovations] really support the mission of the university. It’s going to help with current and prospective students, with faculty and staff, and just be a value add to campus.”