Set to open later this year, the 20,000-square-foot University of Maine at Augusta Capital Center will serve as an expanded location for classes, demonstrations, seminars and more. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The nursing program at the University of Maine at Augusta will get a larger space this fall that will allow the program to expand by at least 24 students a year.

Located in the former Purdue University space in the Marketplace at Augusta, the 20,000-square-foot building is located not far from the college’s main campus in Augusta and will be named the UMA Capital Center.

Shannon Gauvin, director of  nursing and program coordinator at UMA , believes the space could open up around 24 spots per year for additional students to join the program, which in four years’ time, could contribute more than 100 nurses to Maine’s workforce.

The extra leased space will allow the current students to move out of the Augusta Civic Center.

“From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., we have the (Augusta Civic Center) spaces occupied and stations set up to practice skills in every room, including offices and hallways,” Gauvin said.

Gauvin said some students at the university might decide they want to go back to school, or change careers, but do not have the ability to wait until the next semester to start classes. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, and the university can accommodate classes around a student’s schedule.


Renovations at the UMA Capital Center are expected to be completed by fall.

Gauvin said around 267 students are enrolled in the prelicensure nursing program at UMA, which has a 100% pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination. UMA’s program is one of only 15 nursing schools across the country licensed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corp.

“There is still a dire need for nurses,” said Shannon Gauvin, the director of UMA’s nursing program. “The nursing population is aging and we need to supply the state with qualified applicants who will also be able to care for our aging population.”

Funding for the $6.7 million project will include $1.8 million through a congressionally directed spending award secured by Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King in 2023 and $4.5 million more in expected federal funding. Additionally, MaineGeneral Medical Center is contributing $480,000 over four years to expand the nursing program.

UMA has been working to expanding the health care opportunities for Mainers. Earlier this year, the university revealed a larger building on its Augusta campus for its medical lab technician program and has already seen enrollment double.

The relocated nursing program may share the building with the computer science program, but Gauvin said the shared space would still be beneficial to the nursing program because there are interdisciplinary classes nursing students could take through the computer science program.


“Having this location to expand UMA’s workforce development offerings will allow our nursing and cybersecurity to continue to grow and meet the demands of Mainers desiring a quality education in high-demand fields. We are also excited to be partnering with MaineGeneral Medical Center to create more skilled health care workers, especially nurses,” said UMA President Jenifer Cushman in a news release from the university. 

UMA has several locations across the state, but the nursing program is offered at the Augusta campus as well as the Brunswick, Rockland, Ellsworth and Rumford campuses. Students can choose the location that is convenient to them, but they might have to travel to Augusta for the simulations.

“Part of our population are students that are adults and have their lives and want to work in the community they live in,” said Gauvin.

UMA is part of the University of Maine System and has around 5,773 students.

Purdue University moved its simulation center for healthcare education and excellence to Northern Light Inland Hospital in Waterville.

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