Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: A way forward – yes on Question 4

As a member of the community who comes to University of Maine at Farmington to attend meetings and participate in events, it is easy to see the need for investment in the future of the campus and facilities. Question 4 is a bond issue which would make that investment.

At UMF the improvements would focus on the Olsen Student Center on South Street, a building which is in constant use by community organizations. It holds events not just for UMF students but for people from the wider area, including church groups who come During the summer to help make repairs on local homes. Residence halls would also receive much needed attention. Those buildings do not only house students. Large groups attending special two and three week conferences are housed in the dorms such as Mallett Hall.

Many people do not realize that approximately 50 percent of University of Maine system buildings have received no major upgrade in the past 50 years. It is time to bring facilities and equipment up to snuff. The whole community benefits when we invest in the future, and specifically in equipment that will build Maine's workforce of the future.

I urge everyone to vote Yes on Question 4.

Eileen Kreutz
Industry

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2 Responses »

  1. Are these colleges really hurting so much that we need to invest millions into them? Maine keeps spending itself deeper and deeper into a hole with these bonds and the future college graduates bonds 4 and 5 are going to benefit are likely going to move out of state, as there is little for them to stay here for. Those who stay will move to more populated areas. How does that help the local community? Call me a pessimist, but that is what I am.

    If we want the community to benefit, perhaps we should try investing more in bringing in more diverse businesses to the Farmington area other than restaurants, pubs, department stores, and pot growing stores that will give 'Maine's future workforce' a reason to stay in the area so we actually get something out of it.

    But I suppose my rambling is irrelevant, as anything labeled a bond is guaranteed to pass regardless of Maine's steep deficit.

    Cheers,
    Shamus

  2. Shamus- appreciate your questions. The deferred maintenance of our public campuses is nearly a billion dollars and UMF is among those with the greatest need (not surprising given its age). The majority of University of Maine System graduates do stay in state- more than 80 percent. We now also attract nearly 6,000 out-of-state students, and increasingly, we find those students stay here if we can connect them to Maine internships and jobs, which is a goal of the bond investments in part. Visit any Franklin County school and ask how many of the teachers are UMF graduates. UMF makes our region more vibrant and attracts and keeps people here. I hope you agree the campus is worthy of this much-neeed investment.

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