By Grace McIntosh Contributing Writer
Several members of UMF’s community, including both faculty and students, casted their votes on November 6th, to decide the fate of Question 4, which directly institutes $8.5 million in renovations on UMF’s campus.
Isaac Michaud, treasure of the UMF college Republicans, wrote in an email sent on the day of the election,“Question 4 is an unprecedented investment that would be a real game-changer for our campus.” The bond is set to renovate Olsen Student Center, upgrade residence halls, Merrill, Ricker Addition and Mantor Library, as well as assist in building a new Swett-Winter Education Center according to Michaud’s email.
Laurie Gardner, Chief Business Officer, said renovations will be taking place soon. “Studies and planning will begin immediately and we hope to break ground next year on as many of the projects as possible,” said Gardner.
Gardner said that the changes being made to campus will create a different atmosphere after the projects are completed. “The investment will enhance space and make much needed infrastructure upgrades that will improve campus facilities,” said Gardner. “The improvements will substantially improve the quality of space on campus and living environments.”
Students also expressed their hopes of future improvements on campus. Emma Casey, a first year student, voted yes on Question 4 and would like to see renovations take place in older residence halls especially.
“Purrington and Mallet are definitely dated and need to be modernized a bit,” said Casey.
Freshman Mckenna Lockwood thinks that updates will benefit residence halls as well. “Mallet is such a beautiful building and I wish that it was more wheelchair accessible. There is no elevator,” said Lockwood. “The wooden stairs gave me a splinter and contain a lot of graffiti on them.”
Lockwood also said that she was surprised the money wasn’t being used to increase parking availability on campus. “The parking lot behind the fitness center is really far away, I wish there was one closer to my dorm.”
Although senior Brandon Cardona will have graduated by the time renovations take place, he still voted yes. “I would love to see Merrill touched up a little bit. It’s old aesthetic is dope however, the classrooms could definitely be modernized,” said Cardona.
Some students hope that the bond will bring sustainable changes to campus. “I would love to see the dorms and other building, upgraded to have solar panels on the roofs,” said first year student Corbin Bouchard.
Nik Peterson, a first year psychology major, said that he hopes for better seats in the lecture auditoriums. “The Weird bending-swiveling ones [chairs] are terrible to sit in for long periods of time,” said Peterson.
In an email titled “A Happy Day”, Interim President Eric Brown wrote from Morocco with his gratitude for the passing of Question 4. “My deepest thanks to all of you for your support, promotion, and enablement of the state bond,” said Brown. “And special gratitude to the students who voted in town yesterday, as well as those who supported them. It’s a fine hour and worth a long celebration. I look forward to joining in that in person soon.”
The last times that campus has received renovations were updating the snack bar and cafe in 2017 as well as the construction of the biomass plant in 2016.