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USM Portland Commons Residence Hall and Career & Student Success Center

The new residence hall, student center and central campus quad will transform this busy commuter school into a welcoming, residential community driving the local and state economies through scholarship, civic and cultural engagement, and innovation. Designed with the imperatives of sustainability and accessibility, the two new buildings are cornerstones of USM’s master plan to attract and retain highly qualified students and faculty.

Portland Commons will become home to nearly 600 students, mostly upperclassmen and graduate students, with 580 beds including a mix of single-occupancy rooms, studio and larger multiple-room apartments. On track to be one of the five largest Passive House residence halls in the nation, its design features a super-insulated building envelope and floor-to-ceiling glass on its first floor. The Career & Student Success Center will serve as the campus’s social heart and living room with amenities including a 300-seat dining hall, student lounge, bookstore and café/pub.  The Center will house a Career & Employment Hub and a 4,500 s.f. multi-purpose room to host career fairs, employer presentations, and networking events with local business leaders.

Natural and rugged building materials and mass timber design tie the building to the essence of the state of Maine and the City of Portland. Designed to LEED Silver Standards, the Center achieves USM’s sustainability goals:  embracing renewable low-carbon building technologies, waste diversion, and strategies to maintain healthy living and working spaces.

Anchoring the transformed campus is the new, one-acre central quad, a former commuter student parking lot.  This open and gently sloping green lawn will become the signature open space for the University.

Project Highlights

Largest building project in USM's history
Passive House Techniques
Cross laminated timber construction
First residence hall on Portland campus
Reclaimed existing parking lot to become student lawn in the heart of campus
Improved campus food service with new dining hall, café and pub