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The University of Maine (UMaine) is set to start construction on its $78m Ferland Engineering Education and Design Centre next month.

A virtual groundbreaking ceremony was held by UMaine for the 105,000ft² facility amid coronavirus pandemic protocols.

The Ferland Engineering Education and Design Center has been designed by Bangor-based WBRC Architects Engineers and Ellenzweig of Boston and will be constructed by Consigli Construction.

UMaine said that workers will follow appropriate Covid-19 health and safety guidelines throughout the construction.

Expected to be completed in 2022, the centre will be open for capstone projects of the members of the UMaine Class of 2023, who entered as first-year students last year.

The university raised $25m in private support from more than 500 alumni, friends, foundations and corporate donors. This project is the capital priority of its $200m Vision for Tomorrow comprehensive campaign, led by the University of Maine Foundation.

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A $50m approval in public support was granted by the state Legislature in July 2017 to catalyse this campaign.

In addition, it received a $10m naming gift from Skowhegan natives E James ‘Jim’ Ferland ‘64 and Eileen P Ferland. It was announced in 2018.

Five additional major naming gifts for the project came from the Abagadasset Foundation, Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation, Harold Alfond Foundation, Packaging Corporation of America, and Pratt & Whitney.

UMaine president Joan Ferrini-Mundy said: “This facility is key to advancing the College of Engineering, the university and the state.

“The project itself is a jobs-creator and includes UMaine engineering alumni returning to their alma mater to contribute to its design and construction. This facility ushers in an important new chapter in our future.”