By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

ORONO, Maine (AP) - The University of Maine plans to spend $110 million to modernize athletic facilities over the next decade with a new basketball building, three new outdoor artificial turf fields and two new domed facilities.

Also included are major upgrades to the university’s football stadium and Alfond Arena, where the hockey teams play.

“We are going to build outstanding athletic facilities to support our Black Bear athletes and students and youth from all over the state,” UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said in a statement.

As part of the community, the public will be “welcome to engage in our programs, use our facilities and contribute to our success,” she added.

The project is funded primarily by $90 million from the Harold Alfond Foundation. The athletic department will raise the remaining $20 million through private donations.

The foundation bears the name of the late philanthropist and founder of Dexter Shoe Company, Harold Alfond. Last fall, the foundation awarded a $240 million gift over 10-12 years to the UMaine system.

UMaine athletic director Ken Ralph said the upgrades will “provide the quality of facilities necessary” for the Black Bears to be competitive on a national level but he also reiterated that the facilities will be used by high school athletics and others in the community.

“We are also using this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to equity and to show our dedication to making Orono the go-to destination for sports in Maine for athletes of all ages,” he said.

The first phase calls for construction of new artificial turf fields for women’s soccer, softball and field hockey teams.

Other projects include a new surface for the Mahaney Diamond, renovations to Memorial Gym complex, upgrades at Alfond Arena and major changes at the football stadium.

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