August 9, 2010

UNE gets breathing room

Growth aims to foster community


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A mover pushes a chair into a new dorm – a 300-bed suite-style residence hall – at the University of New England campus in Biddeford last week.

Sarah Craig/Staff Photographer

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The Nor’easter logo is among the last finishing touches being added last week to the University of New England’s new turf field, a recent addition that will be used principally by the school’s lacrosse and field hockey teams.

Sarah Craig/Staff Photographer

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The university set aside 170 acres of land in a conservation easement, and the facility is aiming for LEED Silver certification, the third-highest level of the four categories of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Twomey said she would have preferred for the area to remain wooded and have students bused downtown to live in the old mill buildings, using existing space and bringing more life to downtown.

"I support UNE and their right to expand on property they own," said Peggy Ayers, a local resident and founder of the nearby Blandings Park Wildlife Sanctuary. "My feeling, though, as a conservationist and environmentalist, is of course there's a quandary."

The area surrounding UNE includes habitat for the endangered Blanding's turtle and threatened spotted turtle, Ayers said. She understands development must happen and that UNE has been about as careful as it could be, but she still mourns the loss of the natural habitat.

Still, Twomey supports UNE in its endeavors and the economic potential it brings to the city.

"I think the university is a jewel in our community," she said.

UNE is hosting an open house for the community to see the new facilities Aug. 25. Anyone is welcome, though they should call the university beforehand.

"I can't wait to watch people's faces when they walk in," Forrest said.

Staff Writer Stephanie Hardiman can be contacted at 791-6301 or at:


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