Office of Public Affairs

Campus Construction Update (May 14, 2021)

Since the last Campus Construction Update in early April, the site of the former Woodbury Campus Center and 25 Bedford Street buildings on the Portland Campus has been cleared of cinder blocks, concrete, twisted steel, and other demolition debris. The plot where the Portland Commons Residence Hall is projected to be completed by June 2023 has been smoothed and leveled, and site preparation work continues apace.

An image of a multi-faceted ground improvement machine drilling into the soil at USM

Among the newest pieces of heavy equipment to appear on site is a towering multi-faceted ground improvement machine, seen above on May 11, 2021. John Souther, USM’s Executive Director of Facilities Management, says it’s the cause of intermittent tremors folks close to campus have been experiencing in recent days — and will continue to feel through early June.

That occasional shaking comes from the ground improvement machine’s vibrating drill as it bores into the ground to insert hollow steel tubes, which are set atop bedrock. Once filled with a concrete-like grout, the tubes are extracted, leaving hardened piers that will help support the foundation of the Portland Commons residence hall. Souther says the depth of the drilling and piers depends on how deep the bedrock is — 12 feet below grade in places the day these photos were taken.

Adjacent to the drilling work, the parking lot between the former Woodbury Campus Center and Masterton Hall remains closed, but its asphalt surface is still largely intact. Souther says the northernmost portion of the parking lot — the section within the Career & Student Success Center footprint — will be demolished in mid-June. The rest of the parking lot will remain paved for use as a staging area for material delivery and equipment until final site work activities are completed in late 2022 or early 2023.

An image of the USM construction site taken on May 11, 2021

While rain falls over Portland's East End, the Portland Campus Development Project worksite enjoys a moment in the sun during the afternoon of Tuesday, May 11, 2021. At the center of the scene, the towering multi-faceted ground improvement machine sets another concrete-reinforced pier beneath the site of the forthcoming Portland Commons Residence Hall.

Until next time, you can learn more about USM's nearly $100 million Portland Campus Development Project online, including building renderings and a nifty fly-through video tour of the Career & Student Success Center. And be sure to watch USM’s Virtual Groundbreaking celebration at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 20.