UMA Nursing Move to Augusta Marketplace Will Grow Enrollment in Support of Maine’s Healthcare Workforce Needs

The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) will expand enrollment in its in-demand nursing degree programs to better meet state healthcare workforce needs when it moves into the Marketplace at Augusta, a WS Development property, later this year.

At their meeting in late January, University of Maine System (UMS) Trustees approved UMA undertaking renovations to repurpose the former Purdue University Global site in the Marketplace at Augusta into the future home of its nursing and cybersecurity training programs.

Set to open later this year, the 20,000-square- foot facility, which will be called the UMA Capital Center, will serve as an expanded location for classes, demonstrations, seminars and more.

Located directly across Civic Center Drive from UMA’s main campus in Augusta, the university’s new location for its nursing program at Marketplace at Augusta is conveniently situated among the property’s more than 45 retail shops and restaurants, offering students and staff a unique off-campus experience owned and operated by WS Development.

Over the past five years, enrollment in UMA’s nursing program has grown from 50 students to 320, and when fully built out, the new Capital Center will support the high-quality, hands-on education and training of almost 400 nursing students total in support of Maine’s healthcare workforce needs.

Funding for the renovations necessary to support this growth are expected to occur in two phases. The initial phase, which will allow the UMA Capital Center to begin serving students this year, will be funded with $1.8 million received through a $4.5 million Congressionally Directed Spending award secured by Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 to improve nursing simulation across UMS and patient outcomes across Maine.

MaineGeneral Medical Center with headquarters in Augusta, is also contributing $480,000 over four years for the expansion of the nursing program to help meet the growing demand for nursing professionals in Maine.

An additional $4.5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending requested by Sens. Collins, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and King specifically for the further build-out of the UMA Capital Center is pending in Congress as part of ongoing FY 2024 federal budget negotiations and if secured, would support a second phase.

UMA President Jenifer Cushman said, “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.”

“MaineGeneral is proud to partner with University of Maine Augusta on this project which will allow for increased enrollment in the nursing program, helping to mitigate the current and projected nursing shortage in Maine. Given our aging population it is essential that we work collaboratively to ensure that our communities have access to high quality nursing care now and in the years to come,” said Chief Nursing Officer for MaineGeneral Medical Center and the CEO for MaineGeneral Community Care Jennifer Riggs, who also chairs the UMA Board of Visitors.

“Nurses are more important than ever in our oldest-in-the-nation state, providing critical, compassionate care not just in hospitals and health care centers, but in nursing homes, schools and communities,” said Shannon Gauvin, director of the University of Maine at Augusta’s nursing program. “The new UMA Capital Center, supported by Sens. Collins and King and Maine General, will enable us to provide high-quality, hands-on clinical training including in simulated settings to help more students cultivate the skills necessary to facilitate positive patient outcomes and graduate ready for a successful career in nursing. We are excited to open at Marketplace at Augusta.”

“We are proud to partner with University of Maine Augusta to open a new space for its growing programs. Providing a place for both learning and leisure, it is a destination beyond the classroom where educators and students can also enjoy the property’s mix of great local, regional and national businesses, as well as community activations,” said Nick Margitza, Senior Director, Leasing at WS Development and Marketplace at Augusta.

About University of Maine Augusta

UMA is the third largest public university in Maine. In addition to its main campus in the state’s capital, UMA also serves students at its campus in Bangor (UMA Bangor) and through UMA Centers around the state. With its multiple locations and long-term expertise in online and distance learning, UMA is generally considered the university of choice for Mainers of all ages who want to attend college without uprooting their lives. UMA transforms the lives of students of every age and background across the State of Maine and beyond through access to high-quality distance and on-site education, excellence in student support, civic engagement, and professional and liberal arts programs.

About Marketplace at Augusta

Marketplace at Augusta is the largest open-air shopping center in Maine; it offers a diverse collection of the nation’s top retailers, entertainment, and restaurants. Opened in 1995, the center is home to Wal-Mart Supercenter, Sam’s Club, Kohls, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJX, HomeGoods, Barnes & Noble, and Ulta Beauty. Dining options include Panera, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Red Robin, and Brickyard Hollow, while entertainment options are anchored by a recently renovated 10-screen Regal Cinemas. WS Development owns and operates the 1.3 million square foot center. Marketplace at Augusta is located at 197 Civic Center Drive, Augusta ME, and is easily accessible off of I-95/Maine Turnpike. For more information, visit or reach out to Nick Margitza at

About WS Development

Massachusetts-based WS Development is a mixed-use developer with a singular mission: creating places people want to be. With an approach that values art, science, innovation and, above all else, people, WS strives to engage each community it serves with best-in-class experiences, designed with our customers, tenants and partners in mind. Established in 1990, WS is one of few vertically-integrated real estate companies that conceptualizes, owns, operates and leases more than 100 properties that range from cutting-edge urban spaces to lifestyle and community centers. With over 22 million square feet of existing space and an additional nine million square feet under development, it is one of the largest privately-owned development firms in the country. For more information, visit, call 617.232.8900 or follow WS Development on LinkedIn.

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