USM|Portland

PortlandLifeGuy

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This is another detail lacking arch design in which you really only know what its going to look like after it's up. I like its form, but as we know, the final materials can dramatically improve or ruin a building. But beggars can't be choosy, I guess. Love what's going on at this campus. It's about time. The Portland campus is the future of USM--period. But for crucial supportive revenue a college needs competitive sports programs. I don't think student musical recitals will bring in anything substantial, or not like a 50 Cent concert would. Sports. Sports is where it's at. A giant, glass, air conditioned, walkway (wide enough for bikes, scooters, and a few kiosks) should be built at the entrance of the garage snaking across the freeway and terminating at Portland Stadium. An entire renovated--and roof retractable--stadium seating up to 35,000 for track and soccer (football is too big a stretch here, plus the field dimensions are limiting for other sports) could be constructed (bear with me naysayers). And, connectors to the ice arena, the baseball stadium, and a somewhat renovated Exposition building. Now, you have a much bigger market for the merchandising, and with the husky dog variation potential, easy, easy sales. USM has a GREAT looking and emotionally evoking mascot. For big hockey games, the team could play at CIA. For big basketball games, it would be CIA and this new facility (Syracuse Univ. does this, way, way, way, way up in the northern no-man's land of New York state). It's not hard. No, it's not (sorry to answer for you). With so many wealthy part-time residents in Maine the money could be found. Except, I admit, we have another problem. But it's easy to fix. Well, somewhat, anyway. Simply change your thinking to "we can" instead of "we can't." The default Maine way is, "It can't be done!... There's no parking!... We don't do that in Maine!" You live by what you believe in. I've seen this type of endeavor completed at colleges in podunk towns across the U.S., so why not here? Think about it. If enough people think that they can do it--as a collective--the resulting energy becomes infectious and quite powerful.

I think it's a good idea, but remember that USM is a NCAA DIII team. Syracuse and similar massive universities are DI, which attract much more national attention and have massive student and alumni populations to pull from. DIII athletics are extracurriculars, these kids very rarely go on to the pros. They know that. Syracuse spent $83 million on their athletics programs in 2020 alone. Orono spent $18 million... USMs Department of Athletics's total operating budget, including payroll and general operations, is approximately $2.8 million...

Even on USM's website "Athletics is an important and exciting part of student life at the University of Southern Maine. Sponsoring 22 NCAA Division III intercollegiate teams and nearly 500 student-athletes". Many USM students are non-traditional, commuters and older folks. Is it possible? Yes it is possible, but not without massive, massive investment from the UMaine system and recruitment. Right now, any serious sports dollars the system spends in bulk goes to the DI programs in Orono where the infrastructure already exists. Hell, USM doesn't even have a football team.

Portland is an art town, a music town. (Sometimes a sports town when the Seadogs and Mariners are doing okay). It makes sense that USM is investing strongly in the arts. Yes, it might not be lucrative right now, but it makes sense. Also, the $5 million wouldn't go far to be competitive against D1 programs, or quite frankly even other DIII programs that are highly funded (see Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, Trinity). USM wants to attract students and build a powerful new Portland campus. It makes sense that they're investing their limited funds in housing, a new campus center and a state of the art performance hall.

Can it be done? Yes. Would it work? I don't know, but it would cost a fortune.
 

markhb

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I don't know how much revenue a school can get in D III and the UMS (not a typo) Board of Trustees will never allow a change to D-I; Orono calls most of the shots with them. (Basic truths of Maine politics: the few urban areas of the state are greatly outnumbered population-wise by the rural areas, a fact of which the rural representatives in the Legislature are quite proud. Also, the rest of the state hates Portland for being "northern Massachusetts" to the extent that the epithet of "Portland bill" in the Legislature is a kiss of death.)
 

Lrfox

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This is another detail lacking arch design in which you really only know what its going to look like after it's up. I like its form, but as we know, the final materials can dramatically improve or ruin a building. But beggars can't be choosy, I guess. Love what's going on at this campus. It's about time. The Portland campus is the future of USM--period. But for crucial supportive revenue a college needs competitive sports programs. I don't think student musical recitals will bring in anything substantial, or not like a 50 Cent concert would. Sports. Sports is where it's at. A giant, glass, air conditioned, walkway (wide enough for bikes, scooters, and a few kiosks) should be built at the entrance of the garage snaking across the freeway and terminating at Portland Stadium. An entire renovated--and roof retractable--stadium seating up to 35,000 for track and soccer (football is too big a stretch here, plus the field dimensions are limiting for other sports) could be constructed (bear with me naysayers). And, connectors to the ice arena, the baseball stadium, and a somewhat renovated Exposition building. Now, you have a much bigger market for the merchandising, and with the husky dog variation potential, easy, easy sales. USM has a GREAT looking and emotionally evoking mascot. For big hockey games, the team could play at CIA. For big basketball games, it would be CIA and this new facility (Syracuse Univ. does this, way, way, way, way up in the northern no-man's land of New York state). It's not hard. No, it's not (sorry to answer for you). With so many wealthy part-time residents in Maine the money could be found. Except, I admit, we have another problem. But it's easy to fix. Well, somewhat, anyway. Simply change your thinking to "we can" instead of "we can't." The default Maine way is, "It can't be done!... There's no parking!... We don't do that in Maine!" You live by what you believe in. I've seen this type of endeavor completed at colleges in podunk towns across the U.S., so why not here? Think about it. If enough people think that they can do it--as a collective--the resulting energy becomes infectious and quite powerful.
With all due respect to my alma mater, there's just no real world scenario in which USM can be compared to Syracuse or any other flagship D1 school/athletic program. Syracuse is a top flight, internationally renowned private university with over 22k students and an athletic legacy dating back around 150 years. USM is a secondary/regional state school with fewer than 8,000 students, a large percentage of whom are local/non-traditional students. The idea that slapping a 35k capacity stadium on the other side of I-295 and connecting it via a skybridge is going pay dividends because it works in Syracuse ignores almost all of the elements that make it work in Syracuse (or any other small/mid-size college town with a major University and D1 athletic programs).

For starters, Syracuse (as with almost any top flight University) has a widespread and affluent alumni network that lives and breathes Orange. They literally breed Orange fans, and this is why they fill stadiums in Syracuse and all over the country. It's not just about city/metro population (and Syracuse is larger than Portland on all fronts and the metro is ringed by larger communities than those that surround metro Portland). People fly and drive in from hundreds and thousands of miles away. My old boss in Boston is a Notre Dame football season ticket holder - goes to every home game. That's why State College, PA has a stadium with a capacity of 106k even though the population of State College is 45k. It takes generations to build that type of loyalty and following. USM simply isn't that type of school and won't ever be. The USM alumni network outside of Southern Maine is basically nonexistent. I've had a negligible amount of correspondence from USM since graduation and I can't think of a single effort to organize/network with fellow alumni here in Boston. My fiancee, on the other hand, graduated from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York (barely 2,500 students) and the alumni network here in Boston (and New York) is absolutely incredible. There are events all the time and the network has generated job leads for her and her friends on a regular basis. What's more is that there's an incredible enthusiasm and energy among alumni for the University. USM doesn't have that and it's not something you can just create. Not even with a new stadium. Hell, even the "emotionally evoking mascot" is essentially a UConn (an actual D1 school in New England whose mascot is the Husky) Husky logo that's been given some marginally different treatments. And USM are still only the 3rd most well known "Huskies" in New England (behind UConn and then Northeastern).

While I certainly admire the "we can" spirit, it also needs to be balanced with reality. "Not happening" isn't just a function of people having a lack of vision, it's a reflection of the real world. Others have touched on politics - it's unlikely that a state university system is going to take major action that could potentially harm the Flagship university - like building a brand new D1 sports program out of thin air. Not only that, there's almost certainly zero political will to make that type of investment in USM vs. UMO. In a rural state, that's very much a "rich get richer" scenario which is an extremely hard sell. That's not to say there's no room for improvement - i just needs to be grounded in some level of reality (and a 35k stadium/D1 sports programs is not). UMass Lowell is a far more realistic and more local example that USM can look to. UMass Lowell is a secondary state university that's invested heavily (adding nearly 2,500 new beds in the past 10 years) to its downtown campus. It's also managed to grow its athletic programs (a number recently moved from D2 to D1 and has a shared use arena and baseball stadium on campus) - their hockey team has even made the Frozen Four. All of this with a larger flagship university in a rural area just under 100 miles away. UMass Lowell is bigger and more centralized than USM, but Portland is a much nicer city than Lowell, and I think the integration could be even better than what Lowell has done. But it's not ever going to be like a Syracuse and no amount of "we can!" spirit will do anything to change that.
 

TC_zoid

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With all due respect to my alma mater, there's just no real world scenario in which USM can be compared to Syracuse or any other flagship D1 school/athletic program. Syracuse is a top flight, internationally renowned private university with over 22k students and an athletic legacy dating back around 150 years. USM is a secondary/regional state school with fewer than 8,000 students, a large percentage of whom are local/non-traditional students. The idea that slapping a 35k capacity stadium on the other side of I-295 and connecting it via a skybridge is going pay dividends because it works in Syracuse ignores almost all of the elements that make it work in Syracuse (or any other small/mid-size college town with a major University and D1 athletic programs).

For starters, Syracuse (as with almost any top flight University) has a widespread and affluent alumni network that lives and breathes Orange. They literally breed Orange fans, and this is why they fill stadiums in Syracuse and all over the country. It's not just about city/metro population (and Syracuse is larger than Portland on all fronts and the metro is ringed by larger communities than those that surround metro Portland). People fly and drive in from hundreds and thousands of miles away. My old boss in Boston is a Notre Dame football season ticket holder - goes to every home game. That's why State College, PA has a stadium with a capacity of 106k even though the population of State College is 45k. It takes generations to build that type of loyalty and following. USM simply isn't that type of school and won't ever be. The USM alumni network outside of Southern Maine is basically nonexistent. I've had a negligible amount of correspondence from USM since graduation and I can't think of a single effort to organize/network with fellow alumni here in Boston. My fiancee, on the other hand, graduated from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York (barely 2,500 students) and the alumni network here in Boston (and New York) is absolutely incredible. There are events all the time and the network has generated job leads for her and her friends on a regular basis. What's more is that there's an incredible enthusiasm and energy among alumni for the University. USM doesn't have that and it's not something you can just create. Not even with a new stadium. Hell, even the "emotionally evoking mascot" is essentially a UConn (an actual D1 school in New England whose mascot is the Husky) Husky logo that's been given some marginally different treatments. And USM are still only the 3rd most well known "Huskies" in New England (behind UConn and then Northeastern).

While I certainly admire the "we can" spirit, it also needs to be balanced with reality. "Not happening" isn't just a function of people having a lack of vision, it's a reflection of the real world. Others have touched on politics - it's unlikely that a state university system is going to take major action that could potentially harm the Flagship university - like building a brand new D1 sports program out of thin air. Not only that, there's almost certainly zero political will to make that type of investment in USM vs. UMO. In a rural state, that's very much a "rich get richer" scenario which is an extremely hard sell. That's not to say there's no room for improvement - i just needs to be grounded in some level of reality (and a 35k stadium/D1 sports programs is not). UMass Lowell is a far more realistic and more local example that USM can look to. UMass Lowell is a secondary state university that's invested heavily (adding nearly 2,500 new beds in the past 10 years) to its downtown campus. It's also managed to grow its athletic programs (a number recently moved from D2 to D1 and has a shared use arena and baseball stadium on campus) - their hockey team has even made the Frozen Four. All of this with a larger flagship university in a rural area just under 100 miles away. UMass Lowell is bigger and more centralized than USM, but Portland is a much nicer city than Lowell, and I think the integration could be even better than what Lowell has done. But it's not ever going to be like a Syracuse and no amount of "we can!" spirit will do anything to change that.
I did not compare USM to Syracuse. I pointed out that (or implied) Syracuse plays basketball games in their enclosed football stadium--that's it. Yes, everyone can agree USM fails far behind in probably every comparison to Syracuse. The aforementioned now clear, the room for growth with USM is substantial. I did point out (or imply) that there are many colleges around the U.S. with notable sports programs in cities that compare with or fall short of Portland's population (metro area). Not to mention, but I will, that these cities, culturally, are a MASSIVE bore. Now Portland's proximity to Boston is key. Boston is becoming one of the most important cities in the world if you look into the tech that is locating and expanding there. Additionally, Portland is approximately 1 to 3 hours drive from Boston's CSA of 8 million people. Portland is poised for explosive growth. It CAN have a much bigger university, and one substantially bigger than UMO due to it's preferred location. College students don't like to own and drive cars like they used to, and well, that easy 2 hour train ride into Boston is kind of nice (where they want to go to graduate school). The only thing holding back USM is that it is a state funded school, and thus lacking a business growth mentality (look at what UNE has done). Mediocre properties in and outside Portland are selling for millions of dollars. Three new billion dollar revenue tech companies have -- or soon will be -- located to Portland's east end. These metrics are powerful indications, including the growth in Boston, which is that easy 2 hour train ride away. Like I said, if most think it can't be done, it never will be... "We don't do that in Maine."
 

portlandneedsnewarena

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I did not compare USM to Syracuse. I pointed out that (or implied) Syracuse plays basketball games in their enclosed football stadium--that's it. Yes, everyone can agree USM fails far behind in probably every comparison to Syracuse. The aforementioned now clear, the room for growth with USM is substantial. I did point out (or imply) that there are many colleges around the U.S. with notable sports programs in cities that compare with or fall short of Portland's population (metro area). Not to mention, but I will, that these cities, culturally, are a MASSIVE bore. Now Portland's proximity to Boston is key. Boston is becoming one of the most important cities in the world if you look into the tech that is locating and expanding there. Additionally, Portland is approximately 1 to 3 hours drive from Boston's CSA of 8 million people. Portland is poised for explosive growth. It CAN have a much bigger university, and one substantially bigger than UMO due to it's preferred location. College students don't like to own and drive cars like they used to, and well, that easy 2 hour train ride into Boston is kind of nice (where they want to go to graduate school). The only thing holding back USM is that it is a state funded school, and thus lacking a business growth mentality (look at what UNE has done). Mediocre properties in and outside Portland are selling for millions of dollars. Three new billion dollar revenue tech companies have -- or soon will be -- located to Portland's east end. These metrics are powerful indications, including the growth in Boston, which is that easy 2 hour train ride away. Like I said, if most think it can't be done, it never will be... "We don't do that in Maine."
Portland.jpg

Article that was on www.boston.com yesterday.
 

PWMFlyer

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USM is more inline with Northestern University in Boston. Urban school located among several blocks. Umass Lowell is another example. The Gorham campus offers a country setting while portland offers the urban setting. Both of both worlds. Unlike UMaine in Orono. USM is a unique school.
 

PWMFlyer

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USM has submitted plans for a 500 car Garage on Bedford Street.
 

Portlander

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^ Is the going to be built on the small grassy lot beside the Abromson Community Education Center and in front of the current garage? Does not seem to be a large enough parcel for a 500 car garage unless it will connect and add another level to the old one.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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^ Is the going to be built on the small grassy lot beside the Abromson Community Education Center and in front of the current garage? Does not seem to be a large enough parcel for a 500 car garage unless it will connect and add another level to the old one.
According to this article from last year, it would be at 68 Falmouth Street, which is the parking lot between Sullivan Gym and the science building: https://portlandphoenix.me/plan-to-renovate-usm-portland-campus-continues-to-worry-some-neighbors/

In the master plan, it's this structure labeled under "longer-range growth:"

1629986255273.png
 

Portlander

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Thanks, that makes much more sense. However, after a closer look at the map, what about the parcel to the far left where the Maine Law building currently stands. It appears there is a 500 car/ 5 level garage planned for that area once the building gets demolished, would that be an additional garage? I probably need to pay a little more to the transformation of the USM campus because it sure is booming. :)
 
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TC_zoid

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One thing that is not being planned, or discussed in public, is how to generate substantially more revenue. The new USM Portland will be a massive cash drain on the state. Most significant state universities generate substantial income from sports and merchandising. USM is far, far, far behind in this idea. It can have dramatically improved sports programs by using CIA and Portland Stadium, of which, needs to be a designated soccer stadium (track too, but where?). Soccer and basketball are the anchor sports now, or for USM, that is. A wide enclosed (with HVAC and limited lounging areas) skybridge from Surrenden Street connecting to Portland Stadium is a smart idea (with current parking garage). The stadium needs a renovation, of course, and should be enclosed. Currently, the USM field house in Gorham serves for "light" soccer and track use, but it is far too small. And for basketball a gymnasium? That's high school. Think bigger to generate revenue to keep the school financially sound, or, jack up tuition, which is not ethical for a state school. Why does UMO have the only significant sports programs in Maine? It's too far north to connect on any practical level. Portland has a much bigger population base, and can draw from New Hampshire for rival games with UNH (a short train ride away). Top soccer and basketball programs (for both men and women) would bring in substantial revenue along with dynamic merchandising. If they need help, and they do, talk with Shamrock Sports Marketing in the Old Port. They brought professional bowling and golf to Portland this year. Surely, they can help plan a new sports endeavor for USM. Think out of the box a bit, otherwise, USM will continue to be a big drain on the state. The college needs to use it intelligence, after all, that's the point of its mission.
 
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cneal

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Most significant state universities generate substantial income from sports and merchandising
...and they pay dearly for that revenue, with multimillion-dollar coaching contracts, athlete scholarships, and pork barrel facilities that only benefit a handful of "students".

Most of these state schools are public, so the revenue and spending data are all freely available, and show that big athletic departments are a money loser for universities:

"Although some big-time (Division I) college sports athletic departments are self-supporting—and some specific sports may be profitable enough to help support other campus sports programs—more often than not, the colleges and universities are subsidizing athletics, not the other way around."

Focusing on academic research & development programs, on the other hand, is a much better bet, with the opportunity of creating spinoff businesses and actually contributing to (instead of draining from) the regional economy.
 

Tom Nevers

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...and they pay dearly for that revenue, with multimillion-dollar coaching contracts, athlete scholarships, and pork barrel facilities that only benefit a handful of "students".

Most of these state schools are public, so the revenue and spending data are all freely available, and show that big athletic departments are a money loser for universities:

"Although some big-time (Division I) college sports athletic departments are self-supporting—and some specific sports may be profitable enough to help support other campus sports programs—more often than not, the colleges and universities are subsidizing athletics, not the other way around."

Focusing on academic research & development programs, on the other hand, is a much better bet, with the opportunity of creating spinoff businesses and actually contributing to (instead of draining from) the regional economy.
This post a million times. Most college sports programs are not profitable. This map is a little old but should be a point of pride for Maine. As someone who grew up in a city and state obsessed with college basketball, I find the lack of emphasis on, and public funding of, college sports refreshing.
Public universities should focus on academics.
7B478BE3-91BC-4198-AA3F-A1D78E46D0F2.jpeg
 

TC_zoid

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Disagree. The schools that want to win AT ALL COSTS are the ones that lose money. Schools that have good academic programs and nice facilities, in locations where students want to be (now Portland), thrive. Simply giving USM sports a kick start by letting them play in CIA and a renovated Fitzpatrick stadium will make money. Also, people in Southern Maine will have a team to root for, and thus buy merchandise. UMO is a bad example of what I am talking about. They are building their teams with under achieving students because few want to go up there (out-of-state and top Maine high school grads). Portland is a top destination in many respects. This is the draw. And any sports or teams that have high costs relative to ticket sales and merchandise sales should be dropped.
 
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DanielPWM19

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USM is currently struggling to meet their student #'s as well. They're going to have to diversify. The pandemic made it clear that on-site college isn't really necessary. My neighbor works for USM and said they've only had a "few" new students sign up for certain liberal arts programs. So why maintain a full liberal arts staff? There's no easy answer to any of this and is a much deeper discussion. But for all the growth that USM is doing, they're going to have to change things up. St. Joe's is thinking of how they diversify with "retirement" homes on the premises (off to the side or toward the lake). If they can't get the student numbers, colleges and universities will have to figure out a way to survive. USM should have done all that they're doing now a good decade ago.
 

markhb

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This is where the garage will be located.
OK, so the surface parking / grassy area where the exit from the current garage is. It looks like those parked in the current garage will need to enter the new garage to actually exit the complex.
 

Portlander

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Thanks, so it's going in the parcel labeled as Anchor Site 1 which is has a blue circle around it on the map if I'm deciphering the plans correctly. There was no way it was going to fit in the 50,000 sf grassy area beside the Abromson Center.
 

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