New Wing, New Students at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast 

The University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast has nearly doubled in size. Construction on a new wing is complete, allowing the school to offer students in the Midcoast area more options.UMaine President Robert Kennedy says the extra 15-thousand square feet of space allows the Hutchinson Center to offer more course options in science, technology and the arts.”The need really was an expression by the students to have broader course offerings than what we could with the original facilities,” Kennedy says.And so as the ribbon was cut on the new wing Monday, down the hall, students were already putting its new classrooms and lab space to good use.”Oh my word, I’ve had so much fun. The professors have been phenomenal. They’re all very helpful and I’ve just enjoyed the learning experience,” says student Hannah Maker.Maker says because of the new degree options, she’s now back in school and able to study nursing, locally.”The lab rooms, the biology and chemistry labs, without those you’d have to take some of the classes up in Orono. That just isn’t a possibility for me right now. But I can take all of my classes right here,” Maker says.Nearly one thousand students are currently enrolled at the center, from all backgrounds.”It really runs the gamut from an 18-year-old high school graduate, to someone who’s had one or two or three careers, and maybe they thought they were retired and now they’re continuing their education,” Kennedy says.”The Midcoast area is really rich with a lot of people who are hungry for knowledge,” says professor Charles Dufour.The addition was funded through a 2-million dollar revenue bond, and another 2-million raised in private donations from more than 300 individuals and groups.”In every respect, the reality is it’s just exceeded our expectations,” Kennedy says. “The enrollment, the students that it draws, The Hutchinson Center, there’s so many heartwarming stories.”