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February 22, 2024

UMaine at Augusta will expand nursing education program to local shopping center

Campus photo Courtesy / University of Maine at Augusta The University of Maine at Augusta, part of the University of Maine System, has a current enrollment of around 5,700 full-time and part-time students.

As the state's demand for nursing professionals continues to grow, the University of Maine at Augusta will expand enrollment for its nursing degree programs by opening a new facility at a local shopping center. 

The university said Wednesday it will renovate the former site of Purdue University Global, in the Marketplace at Augusta, and convert the space into the future home of UMA's nursing and cybersecurity training programs.

The University of Maine System approved the project at a January trustees meeting, UMA  said in a news release.

Set to open later this year, the 20,000-square-foot facility on Civic Center Drive will be called the UMA Capital Center. It will serve as an expanded location for classes, demonstrations, seminars and more.

Funding for the project includes $1.8 million in congressionally directed spending, with another $480,000 in support from MaineGeneral Medical Center. A request for $4.5 million for a second phase of the expansion is now pending in Congress.

Over the past five years, UMA’s nursing program enrollment has grown from 50 students to 320, the university said in a news release. When fully built out, the new Capital Center will support the hands-on education and training of almost 400 nursing students.

“Nurses are more important than ever in our oldest-in-the-nation state, providing critical, compassionate care not just in hospitals and health care centers, but in nursing homes, schools and communities,” said Shannon Gauvin, director of the University of Maine at Augusta’s nursing program. 

The effort — supported by U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, and MaineGeneral — "will enable us to provide high-quality, hands-on clinical training, including in simulated settings, to help more students cultivate the skills necessary to facilitate positive patient outcomes and graduate ready for a successful career in nursing,” she continued.

UMA is No. 11 among Maine’s largest colleges and universities, according to the 2024 Mainebiz Book of Lists. That ranking is determined by full-time undergraduate enrollment as of fall 2023 when UMA had 1,289 full-time students. 

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System comprises Maine’s seven public universities, including 10 campuses and numerous satellite locations. The system serves more than 30,000 students annually and has over 5,000 faculty and staff.

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