The University of Maine at Presque Isle recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new state-of-the art facility.

The groundbreaking was for a four-season Teaching and Research Greenhouse. The 2,400-square-foot structure will cost nearly a million dollars and will be located in a spot adjacent to Gentile Hall. The greenhouse will include two climate-controlled research labs, a teaching classroom, and a faculty office for the Dr. Robert Vinton Akeley Chair of Agricultural Science and Agribusiness.

The greenhouse’s state-of-the-art design will maximize energy and operational efficiency. PNM Construction of Presque Isle will serve as general contractor on the project.

Key features of the greenhouse include double layer polycarbonate transparent panels for the roof and walls, LED grow light systems, watering and ventilation systems—including destratification, exhaust, and circulation fans, and an advanced climate control system and sensor capacity.

Present at the groundbreaking ceremony were donors Dr. Don Zillman, former UMPI President, and his wife Linda, who provided the very first gift for the greenhouse.

In addition to support from the Zillmans, the greenhouse project has been made possible through several funding sources, including grants from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund and the Maine Community Foundation, as well as gifts from the Maine Potato Board, Farm Credit East, McCain Foods, MMG Insurance, University Credit Union, KeyBank, Katahdin Trust Company, Aroostook County Safety Directors, Mary Akeley Smith, and Helen McConnell.

The greenhouse will be used for various educational and research activities, including courses on plant biology, soil science, plant and crop science, and integrated pest management.

For more information about the greenhouse project, please contact Dr. Debbie Roark at 207-768-9755 or Dr. Jason Johnston at 207-768-9652.