University of Maine Director of Athletics Jude Killy speaks during the grand opening ceremony for the new softball complex at the Orono campus on March 31, 2023. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The University of Maine announced an $80 million donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation on Wednesday that will go toward athletic facility upgrades at its Orono campus,

The gift comes on the heels of $90 million the foundation awarded in 2022 and joins a growing pool of funding – as much as $208 million – that the university can tap into to complete its widespread athletic facilities master plan, which includes building a new complex for soccer and track and field, expanding the Shawn Walsh Center and adding a new multipurpose practice facility.

The Alfond Foundation, named for philanthropist Harold Alfond, has long supported athletics in the state, particularly at the University of Maine, where the hockey arena and football stadium bear his name. Alfond, who founded the Dexter Shoe Company, died in 2007.

“Harold Alfond was visualizing and supporting greatness for UMaine Athletics before anyone else believed it was possible,” UMaine Director of Athletics Jude Killy said in a prepared statement.

The initial donation already has led to the opening of new athletic facilities at UMaine in the past year. A $9.5 million softball field, with synthetic turf, lights, and a 3,500-square-foot indoor batting cage, opened last spring. A new field hockey field opened last fall, and this winter brought updates to Alfond Arena, home of the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, including a new video board and sound system.

When the initial $90 million gift, which is spread over 10 years, was announced, the UMaine Athletic Department said it hoped to raise an additional $20 million over the same 10 years. With $21 million raised as of Wednesday, including $10 million from Susan and Phillip Morse to go toward the arena that will serve as the home of the women’s and men’s basketball teams, the athletic department announced a new goal of $38 million, with $17 million more to go.


The $80 million donated Wednesday is not as regimented as the original $90 million, Killy said.

“The objective is to pay for projects as they come,” he said in a phone interview.

That includes plans announced last month for a new soccer, and track and field complex to be constructed behind Mahaney Diamond, home of the baseball team, and the field hockey field. Along with the Alfond Foundation gift, $7 million from New Balance is being used toward that project, and construction is expected to begin this summer.

Other planned projects include a 13,000-square-foot expansion of the Shawn Walsh Center at Alfond Arena, which will include renovated strength-and-conditioning facilities, new film rooms, team offices, expanded locker rooms for the men’s and women’s hockey teams, team lounges, and a 4,900-square-foot expansion of the arena, including a new entrance and updated concourses. Work on the Shawn Walsh Center and Alfond Arena is expected to begin this spring.

A new scoreboard and fencing was installed at Mahaney Diamond this past fall, with more improvements to the ballpark and Mahaney Clubhouse planned, Killy said.



The construction of the 2,500-seat Morse Arena basketball facility, which also will include football operations offices along with offices and locker rooms for the basketball teams, is expected to begin in the spring of 2025.

A new multipurpose practice facility to replace Mahaney Dome, which collapsed during a storm in January 2022, will include a connector to Memorial Gym. The turf for that facility has been installed, Killy said. No date has been set for the inflation of the new dome or construction of the connection to Memorial Gym, but Killy doesn’t expect the facility to open until after completion of the current semester.

“It really depends on what the weather holds,” he said.

The university plans to work on multiple projects simultaneously and have all new facilities and renovations completed by the summer of 2028, Killy said.

“There will be tangible work being done by spring,” he said.

The university does not plan to add any major projects to the master plan as a result of the additional funds, Killy said.

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