PRESQUE ISLE – Renovation work has begun on a classroom at Northern Maine Community College that, once complete, will provide students enrolled in the business technology programs on the campus with a work environment that models one of the county’s most successful businesses.
Through a $50,000 gift made last year by Presque Isle-headquartered MMG Insurance to the recently completed Campaign for the County’s College, room 208 of the A.K. Christie Building at NMCC is receiving a facelift, one that will greet new and returning students at the start of the academic year this coming fall.
“The renovation project will provide an active learning environment for classroom instruction. The modernization of this space will include wireless access and the implementation of notebook computers to engage students in applied learning of the course content,” said Dwight Clayton, chair of the NMCC business technology department. “The classroom design is based on a business training facility at MMG Insurance. This project also includes the renovation of an adjacent storage room, which will be transformed to simulate a business conference room. This smaller classroom will be used for instruction of smaller classes simulating conference meetings within the business environment.”
The MMG classroom will not only be the latest enhancement to the teaching and learning environment at NMCC, but will also bolster an already strong and beneficial relationship between the insurance company and College.
“NMCC has been very important to MMG. Not only are graduates from its various programs represented in many areas of the company, we have also partnered with the College for specific skill set training for our employees,” said Larry Shaw, MMG Insurance president and chief executive officer. “Our involvement in the capital campaign at the $50,000 level was in support of the resource that NMCC provides to MMG, as well as the similar impact it has on other area employers.”
Preliminary work on the renovation project began last fall when business technology faculty, along with personnel in the information technology and facilities department, visited the newly constructed addition at MMG. The purpose of the building tour was to see what aspects of the work environment at the new facility could be replicated in the classroom environment.
“Following the visit, we came together again as a group to discuss the needs of the faculty and how we could incorporate those needs with some of the design and space allocation features we saw at MMG,” said Barry Ingraham, NMCC’s director of facilities and information technology. “We essentially were looking to create a more modern work environment.”
To achieve this, NMCC entered into a contract with Mark Carter of North Peak Architecture – the same Presque Isle architect and firm used by MMG Insurance for their construction and renovation project.
Final architectural designs have since been reviewed and approved by all parties, and work gutting the existing room 208 and an adjacent storage area began March 27. With the exception of the mechanicals, flooring and ceiling – which will be contracted out – all demolition and renovation work will be completed in-house by NMCC facilities and information technology staff. The project is expected to extend through the early summer.
“Our decision to contribute to the construction of a classroom that resembles a modern office was based upon the need to prepare future graduates of NMCC for this evolving environment,” said Shaw. “We are in hopes that our donation will assist in the development of skills in areas from team collaboration to working with multi-media. MMG is pleased to support NMCC in this manner and we look forward to the benefits it will provide to the county’s workforce.”
“What the generosity of MMG Insurance provides for will have a profound impact on our students, the way they learn, the way our faculty teach, and, of course, ultimately on the numerous Aroostook County businesses that rely on our institution to provide the most technologically proficient, well educated and capable workforce,” said NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “We are so excited to see the results of the major gifts campaign having such a positive impact on the College community.”
Aside from renovation work, a new heating and ventilation system will be installed in the room and insulation will be added as part of the construction. Funds for these aspects of the project will be paid for through part of NMCC’s share of the higher education bond passed by Maine voters last November.
College officials plan to invite representatives of MMG to join them for an official opening and ribbon cutting once construction and renovation work on the classroom is complete.
Photo courtesy of Northern Maine Community College
WORK HAS BEGUN on renovating the future MMG Insurance Classroom at Northern Maine Community College. The project, which will transform room 208 in the A.K. Christie Building into a modern business environment similar to what is found at MMG, is expected to be completed this summer. Removing the old furnishings and preparing the room for the renovation work are, from left: NMCC employees Robert Smith, Steve Caron and Barry Ingraham.