MACHIAS — Just in time for the arrival of the incoming cohort of University of Maine at Machias Black Bears this fall, the university will unveil a new allergen-free kitchen to enable students with dietary restrictions to make their own meals. The UMaine Machias campus has a long tradition of making students feel “at home” and the upcoming improvements will further advance the university’s investment in the students and the community. 

Upgrades to Dorward Hall include over $596,000 in repairs to windows and gutters, ADA access and new LED lighting. 

Campus administrators praised the work of the facilities and design team for bringing these projects to fruition. “Capital improvements that upgrade our infrastructure help ensure our on-campus experience is the best it can be for students,” says Megan Walsh, dean and campus director at UMaine Machias. “UMaine Machias has long been a student-centered institution, and these improvements will help us continue to fulfill that mission and meet our current and future students’ needs.”

The biggest upgrade to the building is the Black Bear Lounge, which is currently in the final design phase. This new student area on the lower level of the building will include a dedicated combined video game room and movie room with a lounge area. Sophomore Firaol Bushera, explained that this would be a welcome addition because he prefers “to play video games with other people.” 

The new lounge will be open to all UMM students with swipe card access; other areas of the building will allow swipe card access only to residents. Hayden Sekula, a UMM senior, noted that this lounge would be appreciated by “off-campus students” who might wish to “also use campus facilities.” Bids are anticipated for late May with construction to be completed late summer/early fall 2023.

All upgrades to Dorward Hall are being completed with contractors based in Washington County. “These projects are investments in the future of UMaine Machias, and a demonstration of our commitment to students and to the community,” says Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine.