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February 9, 2024

Acadia’ planned $32.6M maintenance building will now include solar power, EV chargers

rendering of brown buildling Courtesy / National Park Service The National Park Service received $1.5 million in grants to add solar panels and EV chargers to a new maintenance facility under construction at Acadia National Park.

Construction of a $32.6 million maintenance facility at Acadia National Park will include rooftop solar panels and 12 electrical vehicle charging stations, funded with the help of a $1 million grant received from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies program.

Friends of Acadia said it secured an additional $500,000 grant from the National Park Foundation to add to the $1 million for the solar array. And the friends group said it would buy two electric vehicles for the park as a philanthropic match to the Department of Energy’s $1 million grant. 

The National Park Service will remove the existing, inefficient 20,000-square-foot maintenance complex, four temporary trailers and 11 outbuildings — and will replace them with a new LEED Silver facility at the park’s McFarland Hill headquarters campus in Bar Harbor. 

The building, plus outbuildings, will cover 31,398 square feet.

Maine’s congressional delegation previously secured $33 million for the new facility. It broke ground in April 2023 with contractor Nickerson & O’Day of Brewer.

Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, the new center will include maintenance shops, equipment support space, restrooms, offices, meeting rooms, 118 parking spaces and an updated septic system. The park service says benefits of the project will include an efficient workplace, lower energy costs, decreased fuel consumption and improved safety and accessibility. 

The facility will be in a new spot at the 10.5-acre park headquarters campus, designed to remove maintenance functions from the Eagle Lake watershed, which supplies Bar Harbor’s drinking water; and allow the continuation of maintenance functions during construction.

The existing maintenance structure will be recycled, and after construction is completed, the surrounding grounds will be revegetated.

In 2023, Acadia had 3.87 million visitors, according to preliminary figures. Although the total reflected a two-year decline since 2021’s 4 million visitors, the number was still above the annual average of 3.4 million from 2016 through 2019.

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