Oct 6, 2019
Maine University Dedicates New Greenhouse Facilities

As part of its Homecoming celebrations, the University of Maine at Presque Isle marked the completion of its state-of-the-art, four-season Zillman Family Greenhouse with an official opening and dedication ceremony on Sept. 27.

Work and learning in the new $935,000, 2,400-square-foot structure — which features a teaching classroom, two climate-controlled research labs and a faculty office — will begin immediately.

“Today’s greenhouse dedication opens a new horizon for our Ag Science Bachelor’s degree program, providing our students with an incredible, high tech and hands-on learning space and our faculty with a dedicated spot for ag-related research projects. It additionally provides our community with a new resource for understanding greenhouse and growing practices, and the region’s agricultural industry with a partner for tackling the issues farmers are facing out in the field,” UMPI President Ray Rice said.

The greenhouse was funded completely through grants and many donor gifts. Don Zillman, who served as UMPI president from 2006-2012, and his wife Linda Zillman were the donors who provided the first gift for the greenhouse.

In addition to support from the Zillmans, the greenhouse project has been made possible through many public and private funding sources, including grants from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund and the Maine Community Foundation, as well as The County Federal Credit Union; and Farm Credit East, ACA.

The grant funding and gifts have made possible the state’s only smart greenhouse focused on teaching, research and public outreach.

“With this greenhouse, we now have the ability to demonstrate many crop production techniques year around that will provide our students with an outstanding experience and knowledge of plant science,” Jim Dwyer, UMPI’s Dr. Robert Vinton Akeley Chair of Agricultural Science and Agribusiness, said. “Having such a high quality learning and research space allows our Ag program to better meet the educational needs of our students as they prepare for the workforce while simultaneously helping to meet the workforce development needs of our region.”

“We are so very grateful for and appreciative of all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who selflessly contributed to make this day possible,” Debbie Roark, UMPI Executive Director for University Advancement and External Affairs, said. “Their belief in and support of this project will have long lasting and extremely beneficial impacts on The County and UMPI.”

For more information about the greenhouse, please contact Roark at deborah.roark@maine.edu.