The University of Maine Master Plan supports the evolving academic and research mission of the university while promoting sustainability at the broadest level, protecting architectural and landscape resources, improving campus life, and providing a comprehensive vision for the future. The plan goals were to advance the land grant mission through stewardship, management, and local partnerships; enhance the cultural legacy of the campus by restoring and extending the quality and character of the core campus landscape; and create a collegiate environment accommodating strategic academic and research expansion while enhancing the sense of community and fostering collaboration. The master plan provides strategies for protecting the historic landscapes, organizing new districts, reutilizing existing historic buildings, utilizing land more efficiently through redevelopment and infill, and a comprehensive sustainability strategy.
The master plan concentrates academic, research, and campus life facilities in the established campus core, limits the impact on natural systems and habitats, efficiently utilizes existing infrastructure and promotes a collegiate, pedestrian-scale environment. It consists of several functional and design frameworks which collectively form a comprehensive and coordinated vision for guiding incremental change. The Land Use Framework provides a growth boundary, and thereby protects outlying farmland and forests in support of the land grant mission. The Landscape Framework illustrates a comprehensive system of iconic landscapes, new open spaces and a coordinated system of pedestrian corridors that link the campus together. The Circulation Framework enhances the pedestrian, bicycle, and transit networks of the campus with the goal of promoting alternative forms of transportation. It eliminates redundant roads, simplifies vehicular circulation, and removes traffic from the central campus. The Cultural Resource Framework preserves the unique history of the campus and provides architectural guidance for the historic buildings and landscapes. The Development Framework provides a strategy for infill development in areas of the campus that are underutilized of that would benefit from regeneration. The Community Framework supports a sense of community by enhancing civic meeting points, residential communities, and support functions of campus wide importance.
The Sustainability Framework addresses the performance of the master plan relative to three indicators: natural systems and habitats, water resources, and energy and emissions. The framework locates future development in previously disturbed areas avoiding further loss of woodland. It reconnects natural systems and establishes habitat corridors. The majority of new buildings are located on sites occupied by surface parking or existing structures. The framework also provides a strategy for reducing run-off and improving water quality on a campus-wide basis. As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the University of Maine is transitioning toward climate neutrality. The framework provides strategies for reducing carbon emissions including recommendations for reducing energy consumption in existing buildings, utilizing existing space more efficiently, setting energy utilization targets for future buildings, identifying opportunities for renewable energy sources, and orienting proposed buildings for optimal solar access.
Overall, these frameworks provide the University of Maine detailed guidance in adopting and ethic of sustainability, preserving the cultural and land grant legacy, improving campus life, and fostering community outreach.