University of Maine students move into campus in this 2014 file photo. Credit: Brian Feulner

The University of Maine System board of trustees on May 20 approved spending $3.4 million to tear down or convert old buildings on most of its campuses.

The money can be spent this year and the next to demolish, sell or find a better use for buildings that are underused or in poor condition.

It’s the latest step in an ongoing effort to reduce the university system’s footprint to better suit its population. In January 2018, trustees approved an initiative to seek out funding to reduce 300,000 gross square feet of space.

“The size and age of the University of Maine System infrastructure creates challenges for Maine’s public universities in terms of campus functionality, operating and repair costs, and campus curb appeal,” said Dan Demeritt, spokesman for the university system. “Reducing underutilized and inefficient space is an opportunity to make higher education more affordable for our students.”