UMaine athletics gets 90 million dollar gift from Harold Alfond Foundation, plans to upgrade facilities
Maine’s plan for the gift would give equal facilities to men’s and women’s sports.
ORONO, Maine (WABI) - A huge day for University of Maine athletics and Black Bears fans. A 90 million dollar gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation, mainly for facilities upgrades, for the only division one programs in the state.
“This gift is going to go along way towards helping us with a number of capital projects we will see as essential, not just for the varsity athletics envelope, but also for intermural’s, club sports, and youth sports in the region,” says UMaine director of athletics Ken Ralph, “today seems like game day. You know today has got that excitement. Today has got that pop, today has energy about it. We just needed it as a department to get something to rally behind and have something to feel good about.”
While Ralph would not give many details on his master plan, he did give some details on what the money will go towards. Like the aging turf here at Alfond Stadium.
“I can tell you both the president and the chancellor here are all over me about the football field so I have a feeling that I have got to advocate for the football field sitting next to me,” says Ralph, “so you may see some movement there.”
“I hope that we can jumpstart these efforts relatively rapidly,” says UMaine chancellor Dannel P. Malloy, “Finance the construction in different ways.”
Ralph also made it a point that facilities need to be of equal quality for Black Bear athletes.
“The big part of this gift is addressing some gender equity issues we have had in the department for many years. And a lot of those equity issues are driven by facilities,” says Ralph, “Like you’ve got a soccer team that plays on the outfield of your baseball stadium. That doesn’t feel like a very division one quality of experience. You are going to see some pretty significant effort put into ensuring we upgrade those facilities on the front half of this project.”
It’s not Ken’s first facility build either. He’s done projects at both Rennselaer and Colorado college.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that we deliver great value,” says Ralh, “and do the best thing for our students, and this university.”
The on-campus sports experience for UMaine athletes, students, and fans will be drastically improved soon.
“We are going to do something that is very appropriate for Maine, appropriate for who we are, what we are, and what we intend to be,” says Ralph, “Simple, classy, functional but also some thing we are going to be able to maintain going forward so we can have quality facilities into the future.”
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