Repost: Black Bears Athletics
Softball Opens at UMaine
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine officially unveiled its new softball complex at a grand opening ceremony on March 31.
“This is an important day for Black Bear Nation and a proud day for Maine,” says Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of the University of Maine. “This state-of-the-art softball facility, a UMS TRANSFORMS initiative made possible by the Harold Alfond Foundation, is a tribute to the hard-working, talented student-athletes, coaches and staff who have contributed to this championship program. This facility is now home to UMaine softball and we look forward to welcoming fans of all ages to cheer on our team.”
The 90,000-square-foot, $9.5 million complex features a synthetic turf playing surface, bleacher seating for up to 500 patrons along with chairback seats in the center of the stadium layout located between each brick dugout, an enclosed press box located directly behind home plate with three media towers around the stadium, LED stadium lights, bullpens down each foul line, and a 3,500-square-foot, two-lane batting pavilion.
“We are both pleased and proud to open the UMaine Softball Complex to support our current and future softball student-athletes,” says Jude Killy, director of athletics at the University of Maine. “As the flagship university for the Maine System, and the only Division I school in the state, it is important that our venues are high caliber and that they are representative of those distinctions. This one certainly is — and it is really just the start of our comprehensive facilities plan. Thank you to the Harold Alfond Foundation for their tremendous and continued support of the University of Maine, as well as donors like Kathryn Slott who saw and seized the opportunity to make a dramatic impact on our program and for the state of Maine.”
The project was made possible by the transformational $240 million commitment the Harold Alfond Foundation made to the University of Maine System, including a $90 million investment in UMaine athletics to fund the Athletics Facilities Master Plan under the UMS TRANSFORMS initiative. The Harold Alfond Foundation grant to UMS and the people and students of Maine was the eighth largest grant in the history of American public higher education when it was awarded in fall 2020.
The softball batting pavilion was made possible in part through funding provided by UMaine associate professor and avid Black Bear fan Kathryn Slott. As part of the agreement for their $90 million pledge, the Harold Alfond Foundation challenged UMaine Athletics to raise $20 million in matching dollars over a 10-year period. A strong start to the campaign has led to nearly $14 million in gifts and pledges.
“Philanthropy is an agent of transformation and change, one act of generosity often leads to more, which is the case with this facility,” says Jeff Mills, University of Maine Foundation president. “We look forward to working with many additional donors as we complete the fundraising for the visionary master facilities plan for UMaine Athletics.”
WBRC Inc. (Bangor, Maine), Crawford Architects (Kansas City, Missouri), and Activias Inc. (Dedham, Massachusetts) served as the architects for the UMaine Softball Complex. Sargent Corporation (Stillwater, Maine) with subcontractors, spanning from Caribou, Maine to Hooksett, New Hampshire, began construction of the facility in spring 2022..
The complex will be the home to the University of Maine softball program. It also will provide a valuable venue for area youth and high school teams, along with the ability to host state, conference and regional championship events.