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USM gets approval to build new arts center on its Portland campus

The University of Southern Maine campus is seen in January 2019.
Troy R. Bennett
Bangor Daily News
The University of Southern Maine campus is seen in January 2019.

The University of Southern Maine has received approval to build a 40,000 square foot center for the arts on its Portland campus.

UMaine System officials authorized the school to spend up to $63 million on the new project on Wednesday. The center would house all of USM's music students, as well as certain visual arts and theatre programs.

Ainsley Wallace, the head of the USM Foundation, said that the new building is also expected to bring in revenue through its galleries and performance spaces.

"Groups like Maine State Ballet, other arts organizations, who are looking for flexible spaces, are very interested in what they can do in this building. So we really think that it's going to transform the life of the campus, and produce revenue beyond what we can even anticipate, just yet," Wallace said.

USM plans to begin construction by mid-summer, once it receives approval from planning officials in Portland, and complete the project by mid-2025.