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Board Also OK's Faculty Tenure Nominations and Dean Appointments

BANGOR - The University of Maine System's Board of Trustees on Monday gave its approval to several projects related to increasing the quality and efficiency of university facilities.

The Board also approved two key appointments: Peter Pitegoff as the dean of the University of Maine Law School in Portland; and Devinder M. Malhotra, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern Maine (USM). In addition, the Board approved tenure recommendations for 43 faculty members nominated by their respective universities, decisions which Chancellor Joseph W. Westphal described as “the most important and influential actions undertaken during [Monday's] meeting.”

Meeting in Bangor for a weather-abbreviated one-day session, trustees agreed to create a subcommittee to review the University of Maine's proposal to develop a co-generation facility to provide heat, cooling, and electricity for the Orono campus and possibly other UMaine facilities located off-campus.

The project, estimated to cost $9 million to construct, is expected to significantly reduce annual energy expenses, lessen the university's dependence on fossil fuels, and reduce the emission of air pollutants, according to proponents.

As a result of the Board's action, a subcommittee of its Finance & Facilities Committee will review specific details of the UMaine proposal and, based on its findings, will recommend to Chancellor Westphal whether to allow UMaine to proceed with the project. If approved, the University System would self-finance construction, with repayment made from cost-savings realized by the co-generation facility.

Trustees also granted permission to USM to acquire a property adjacent to its Portland campus. The property, consisting of land and buildings, is located on Bedford Street in Portland and is currently owned by Portland Plastic Pipe Co. Acquisition of the property is consistent with USM's plans to expand and enhance its campus. Under the plan, the USM Foundation will purchase the property for $1.95 million, with financing assistance from the University System. The loan will be repaid through a previously approved USM fundraising campaign already underway.

In other facilities-related actions:

  • Trustees approved construction of a $21.5 million residence hall for USM's Gorham campus, to be financed by tax-exempt revenue bonds and repaid through student residential and dining fees. The new residence hall will provide 324 new beds and will help ease the shortage of student housing that exists in the greater Portland area. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2007.
  • Trustees approved UMaine's request for $2.5 million to install fire suppression sprinkler systems as well as provide asbestos abatement for York, Gannett, and Hart halls. These improvements are part of a project to have sprinkler systems installed in all UMaine residence halls by 2008. Currently 10 of UMaine's 20 residence halls have sprinkler systems as well as other fire suppression features.
  • The Board also approved UMaine's request to expand Alfond Arena by adding six new event skyboxes and to create space for both an Alfond Arena Hall of Fame and expanded retail sales space. The projects' costs total $1,320,000 and were planned as a second phase of the current Alfond Arena renovation and expansion project. The total cost of this second phase will be covered by athletic department revenues generated in part by skybox leases and ticket and merchandise sales.
  • Trustees authorized Chancellor Westphal to pursue discussions with State officials to facilitate the transfer of U.S. Navy-owned surplus property located in Gouldsboro to Acadia Capital Corp., a Bangor-based not-for-profit economic development agency. Known locally as the Corea Navy Base, the property has been idle for a period of time but has the potential to become the permanent home for aquaculture-related research and business enterprises. Businesses interested in re-locating to the property include two start-up companies that currently are located at UMaine's aquaculture research facility in Franklin.
  • Approved naming the University of Maine at Farmington's new 100-bed residence hall in honor of Frances Allen Black, a 1933 graduate and school benefactor.

The Board's appointments of Pitegoff and Malhotra fill two prominent positions within the University System. Pitegoff joins the law school after having served since 1998 as the vice dean of Academic Affairs at the State University of New York's Buffalo law school. He will succeed Colleen Khoury, who is retiring as Maine Law's dean after seven years.

Malhotra, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, has been at the University of Akron (OH) since 1989. He has been the university's associate dean of Arts and Sciences since 1999. He replaces Luisa DePrez, who has served as interim dean for three years. She will remain on the USM faculty.

The Pitegoff and Malhotra appointments commence July 1.

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state's largest educational entity, with more than 34,300 students enrolled. It features seven universities -- some with multiple campuses -- located across the state, as well as 11 University College outreach centers and more than 100 interactive distance education sites. For more information, log onto