The Pivotal Role of Architecture Engineers in Modern Building Design

In the realm of modern building design, architecture engineers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of educational institutions. This article explores the transformative impact of the Harold Alfond Foundation’s $30 million gift to The University of New England (UNE), focusing on the collaboration with SMRT architecture engineers and the creation of a cutting-edge medical education facility.

Harold Alfond Foundation’s Impact

In October 2020, the Harold Alfond Foundation made a significant contribution of $30 million to UNE, earmarked for the design and construction of a new 110,000-square-foot medical education facility on the Portland Campus. This generous gift facilitates the relocation of UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and the establishment of the Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice (IIPEP).

SMRT Architects and Engineers, thrilled about the collaboration, are actively contributing to the realization of this visionary project. The UNE Magazine’s Fall 2021 edition featured an in-depth article, shedding light on the expansive scope of the endeavor.

The University of New England’s Vision

The relocation of the medical school is not just a physical move but a strategic initiative to create a health professions education hub unprecedented in Maine and New England. This move aligns with UNE’s mission to bring health disciplines together on one campus, fostering interprofessional collaboration.

Cutting-edge Facilities

The new facility will not only allow UNE to increase its class size significantly but will also house a digital health teaching center. This center will focus on emerging technologies such as telehealth, wearable devices, artificial intelligence, robotics, and health data discovery and application. These advancements are crucial in meeting the healthcare needs of rural residents living in isolated areas.

Impact on Rural Health

The project aims to address the unique challenges faced by rural residents. The integration of wearable devices, artificial intelligence, and robotics will enhance healthcare delivery in remote areas. The focus on digital health technologies aligns with the growing importance of remote healthcare services.

Enhanced Learning Environment

Adjacent to the new facility, an expanded patient simulation center will accommodate large cohorts of student teams. This space will facilitate case studies and collaborative learning, fostering an environment where students can seamlessly integrate theoretical knowledge with practical experience.

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Full Integration of Programs

The project goes beyond the relocation of COM and the establishment of IIPEP. It envisions the full integration of UNE’s professional health care education programs with its health-related Centers for Excellence. This includes collaboration with programs in Collaborative Education, Aging and Health, Digital Health, and Public Health.

SMRT Architects and Engineers’ Role

SMRT architecture engineers play a crucial role in the design and construction of the new facility. Their expertise ensures that the project aligns with the highest standards in modern architecture and engineering. The partnership is a testament to the commitment to creating innovative and functional spaces for education and healthcare.


The collaboration between UNE, the Harold Alfond Foundation, and SMRT Architects and Engineers exemplifies the pivotal role of architecture engineers  in modern building design. This transformative project not only signifies a physical relocation but also embodies a strategic initiative to revolutionize health professions education.

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