Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 23, 2014
MMA begins construction of ABS Center
Construction begins on the new ABS Center for Engineering, Science and Research at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. Before digging the foundation, crews work to clear snow and level the ground of what only last month was a parking lot.
Maine Maritime Academy has begun construction of the first academic facility to be built on the college campus in 30 years: the ABS Center for Engineering, Science and Research, the academy announced in a news release. The ABS Center is named to recognize the American Bureau of Shipping, a major fund donor for the project.
The construction process is estimated to be complete in 12 months, with occupancy planned for January, 2015. When complete, the three-story, 30,000-square-foot building will provide state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, student study spaces, faculty offices and workrooms in the heart of the campus.
In November, Maine voters approved $4.5 million in state funding to support the public-private partnership to build a new facility. The remainder of the funding needed to accomplish the estimated $14 million project is being raised through gifts, pledges and challenge grants from alumni, friends of the college, businesses and foundations.
“With the successful passage of the bond issue and ongoing fundraising efforts we are nearing our funding goals for the project,” said Maine Maritime Academy President William J. Brennan. “We are also fortunate to have an experienced construction team from Nickerson & O’Day who are determined…to stay on schedule.”
The new building will be home to renewable energy and ocean energy labs, as well as the new Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Laboratory, for which the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the academy $1.4 million to focus on research and development of emissions reductions technologies and engine efficiency technologies for marine and related power plants.