Voters will be asked next month to approve a $4.5 million bond issue for Maine Maritime Academy. The money will help fund a $14 million science building on the school's campus in Castine.
Maine Maritime Academy graduate Jason Oney spoke in favor of the bond at a news conference Thursday in the Gorham offices of his company, Strategic Maintenance Solutions.
"We cannot be complacent and simply live on MMA's long-standing good reputation," Oney said. "We must, as a country, as a state, and as an institution, continually innovate."
Maine Maritime President William Brennan told reporters the new science building will be home to a new Marine Engine Testing and Emissions Lab, which received a $1.4 million federal grant last week. Brennan said the building will include other labs and class space. It will also be the first new academic building built on the Maine Maritime campus in 30 years.
The bond has bi-partisan legislative support. Attending the news conference in Gorham was state Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport, the House Republican leader, and Democratic state Sen. Rebecca Millett, whose district includes Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and part of Scarborough.
Fredette sponsored the bond issue in the Legislature. Sen. Millett, co-chair of the Legislature's Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, said a "yes" vote on Question 4 is not only good educational policy, but a good business decision for the state.
"By supporting this bond," Millett said, "we are going to be leveraging money already raised, to build a state-of-the-art laboratory that will put students in the forefront of today's global economy, and keep Maine at the forefront of marine science."
Maine Maritime Academy is raising the bulk of the $14-million cost of the new science building privately.
This story was reported and written by Irwin Gratz.
Renderings courtesy Maine Maritime Academy.
Photos of renderings: Irwin Gratz