Portland Campus Development Project

Portland Campus Development Project

An architectural rendering of the new Portland campus Residential Quad and Career & Student Success Center.

An architectural rendering of the future Career & Student Success Center (center), Residential Quad (foreground, left), and Portland Commons Residence Hall (right).

The University of Southern Maine (USM) is poised to undertake an exciting transformation of our Portland campus, situated in the economic and cultural heart of Maine. 

The Portland Campus Development Project includes plans for the construction of two new student facilities and a campus green:

  • Career & Student Success Center: A three-story, 41,000 square foot structure serving as our new campus hub.
  • Portland Commons Residence Hall: A 580-bed, 216,000 square foot hall for third- and fourth-year undergraduate students, residential staff, USM and University of Maine System graduate students, and Maine Law students.
  • Residential Quad: A one-acre campus green that will serve as a natural entry-point to our Portland campus. 

With the construction of environmentally sustainable facilities devoted to student affairs and career services, we would invest in the academic and professional success of our students and enriching our strong community partnerships. The project marks another key step in the development of our Portland campus, in which we’re replacing a surface parking lot at the center of campus with a one-acre green quad flanked by a state-of-the-art Career & Student Success Center and our first-ever residential housing on the Portland campus.

For information about the Portland Campus Development Project, please contact:

Alec Porteous
Chief Operating Officer & Chief Business Officer
University of Southern Maine
Phone: 207-650-3508
Email: alexander.porteous@maine.edu

In 2018, University of Southern Maine (USM) President Glenn Cummings formed the President's P3 (Public-Private Partnership) Committee. The committee was composed of USM and University of Maine System (UMS) team members and tasked with developing a plan to transform the current Bedford Street Parking Lot and Woodbury Student Center areas into a residential quad with a campus green flanked by a student center and a residence hall. The latter would be the first residential life experience in the history of the Portland campus, and the former would provide a significant upgrade in student experience and a key campus hub for students. 

Throughout 2019, an Evaluation Team composed of USM and the University of Maine System personnel worked with Brailsford & Dunleavy to evaluate the market demand for student housing on our Portland campus and to complete a procurement process to select a project developer. Following the Request for Quote (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP) processes, the Evaluation Team selected Capstone Development Partners of Birmingham, Alabama to develop the project. Capstone is a leading developer of higher education student housing with more than 30 years of experience working in public-private partnerships with client institutions throughout the nation, having partnered with 70 universities to develop 46,000 beds totaling $3 Billion.

Since their selection in 2019, the Capstone development team has partnered with USM and UMS to refine development plans for the project. As presented to the City of Portland Planning Board, the project would include a three-story, 40,000 square foot Career & Student Success Center, a 580-bed, 216,000 square foot residence hall, and a one-acre residential quad that would serve as a natural entry-point to USM’s Portland campus. The latter would replace the current Bedford Street surface parking lot with a campus green. 

Career & Student Success Center

The Career & Student Success Center (CSSC) budget of $25 million would be funded by $19 million in State of Maine bonds and $6 million in private philanthropy. The $19 million in bond funding results from Question 4 on the 2018 ballot, which provided $49 million to the University of Maine System (UMS) for modernizing UMS facilities to attract and retain students to Maine as well as to promote and enhance workforce development in our state.

Portland Commons Residence Hall

Portland Commons' $68 million budget would be funded exclusively by University of Maine System revenue bonds, with annual debt service to be paid by the University of Southern Maine (USM). As part of the procurement process for the CSSC and Portland Commons residence hall project, USM and University of Maine System leadership engaged in a detailed strategic review of project financing and facilities operations for Portland Commons. The goal of the review was to ensure that USM and UMS maximized the public-private partnership (P3) approach for the benefit of the project.


Date Range Project Milestone
June 2017 Master Planning Committee forms and begins developing master plan
June 2018 Project Initiation and formation of President Cummings P3 Committee, including USM and University of Maine System (UMS) committee members
October 2018
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) for Consulting for P3 or Alternative Approach for Constructing Student Housing  
  • Brailsford & Dunlavey (B & D) from Boston, MA hired through a competitive bid process
November 2018 Maine voters approved general obligation bonds, $19 million of which is intended for a new Career & Student Success Center at USM
January 2019
  • UMS Trustees approve the University’s Master Plan; a new Career and Student Success Center and Residence Halls for the Portland campus are identified for development as part of the Master Plan
  • Planning and Building Committee meetings begin, including USM and UMS members
  • Meetings with Brailsford & Dunlavey continue
May 2019 Briefing of Career & Student Success Center and Residence Hall Project to the Finance/Facilities/Technology (FFT) Committee of the UMS Board of Trustees (BOT)
Spring 2019 Brailsford & Dunlavey conduct Market Demand Analysis for student housing in Portland
June 2019
  • Brailsford & Dunlavey share Market Demand report to FFT Committee of the UMS Board of Trustees (BOT)
  • Request for Quote (RFQ) for Portland Campus Student Housing and Student Center Project is submitted; 6 proposals are received, with 5 moving forward to Request for Proposal (RFP)
July 2019

USM begins work with VHB to study parking supply and demand; begins developing a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan

August 2019

RFP for Portland Campus Student Housing and Student Center Project is submitted; 4 proposals are received and evaluated

 November 2019 Capstone Development Partners is selected through a competitive project process to develop the Career & Student Success Center and Portland Commons Residence Hall
Winter 2019 — 2020

VHB completes preliminary Parking Analysis, first draft of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, and first draft of Traffic Analysis

Date Range Project Milestone
Winter 2019 — 2020

VHB completes preliminary Parking Analysis, first draft of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, and first draft of Traffic Analysis

January 2020
  • USM delivers presentation to FFT Committee and full UMS Board of Trustees (BOT)
  • Successful Pre-Pre Application Meeting with Portland City Planning Director
January – Fall 2020
  • UMS Board of Trustees (BOT) approves Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) and project advances
  • USM, UMS, and Capstone team advance project through design stages; reevaluate plans due to COVID-19; execute PDA
March 2020
  • Portland Commons Residence Hall and Career & Student Success Center footprints are finalized
  • VHB completes final version of Parking Analysis; report is submitted to City of Portland
July 2020 — Present City of Portland Planning Board Process
Late-September 2020 USM submits revised TDM plan to City of Portland, incorporating comments from the City, the Planning Board, and the neighborhood
Spring 2021 (proposed)
  • Demolition of Woodbury Student Center and Department of Facilities Management building at 25 Bedford Street
  • Construction of Career & Student Success Center and Portland Commons Residence Hall begins
Spring 2023 (proposed) Construction to be completed. New Career & Student Success Center, Portland Commons Residence Hall, and Residential Quad will open to students and University community.

Project Team

The Portland Campus Development Project is coordinated through ongoing collaboration among University of Southern Maine (USM) and University of Maine System (UMS) offices. The project was established through the work of the President Cummings P3 Committee and continues under the management of the Building Committee. Each committee has worked within UMS policy and procedural guidelines to develop plans for the future Portland campus construction, including communications with, and approval from, the UMS Board of Trustees and City of Portland.

The Building Committee is comprised of personnel representing both USM and UMS:

  • Capital Projects, UMS, & Committee Co-Chair: Carolyn McDonough, Director of Capital Planning and Project Management
  • Operations/Finance, USM, & Committee Co-Chair: Alec Porteous, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Business Officer
  • Capital Projects, UMS: Tom Blanchard, Assistant Director of Capital Planning and Project Management
  • Facilities, USM: Paul Kuplinski, Director of Finance and Administration, Facilities Management
  • Residential Life, USM: Christina Lowery, Director of Housing and Residential Life
  • Finance, USM: Katie Mahoney, Associate Financial Analyst
  • Auxiliary Services, USM: Jeanne Paquette, Vice President, Corporate/Workforce Engagement
  • Strategic Procurement, UMS: Rachel Piper, Director of Strategic Sourcing
  • Student Affairs, USM: David Roussel, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Facilities, USM: John Souther, Executive Director of Facilities Management
  • Capital Projects, UMS: Ann Vashon, Project Manager
  • Sustainability, USM: Aaron Witham, Assistant Director of Facilities Management for Sustainability

Through standard UMS Strategic Procurement policy, the University has issued RFQs and RFPs to contract with several outside organizations who serve as partners in the planning, design, and construction process.

Logos for Capstone Development Partners, SMRT, and Elkus ManfrediLogos for PC Construction, Capstone Management Partners, Woodard & Curran, and Steven Winter Associates Inc. Logos for VHB and Bernstein and Shur