Construction on The Grove housing complex, off of Main Street in Orono, has been in the works since early fall of 2011.
While the development of the complex came down to the wire, The Grove was open and ready for 620 University of Maine students to move in on Saturday, Sept. 1. Third year mechanical engineering student Chandler Smith was one of the hundreds of students. According to him, the move-in was easier for some than for others.
“Check-in: As long as you had first and last months’ rent, you basically walked in, got keys — it was a quick process,” Smith said. “Some people were backed up, I think just because of the volume of people that were moving in.”
According to a prepared statement by Campus Crest Communities director of Marketing Emily Rend, things went smooth in the opening weekend.
“We are incredibly excited to have opened the property and are thrilled to be part of the local community,” Rend wrote in an email. “Last week’s move-in went very well, and I am happy to report that The Grove at Orono is 100 percent occupied.”
Campus Crest Communities is the parent company in charge of The Grove developments.
On its first weekend, The Grove was at more than maximum occupancy, as a party of over 300 broke out in the complex, complete with students skateboarding off rooftops. Police from six different units were dispatched, as officers wanted to diffuse the group before riot conditions ensued.
“The officers were there mainly to get the crowd to disperse,” said Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing. “There was only one arrest, and I believe it was just for failure to disperse.”
The party broke out hours after move in, and noise complaints soon began coming in from other Grove occupants or residents on Park Street.
The following Sunday, a similar crowd arrived and police had to again disperse the large gathering. Management of the 21-building apartment complex was unable to break up the horde, according to the Bangor Daily News, and that’s when authorities were called.
“Our goal here is to ensure people’s safety,” Ewing told the BDN. “When we see that many people together and some jumping off roofs, we need to mitigate that.”
Public Relations spokeman Jason Chudoba told the BDN that increased security has been added at The Grove.
“The safety and well-being of our residents is our top priority and concern,” he said. “We have increased security presence, implemented stricter facility access controls and are coordinating with the Orono police and residents in order to maintain an extraordinary student lifestyle experience.”
In the wake of the opening weekend of The Grove, the on-site management cooperated with Orono police and raised the level of security at the apartment complex, featuring a number of undercover police, according to the BDN. According to the article, at least 28 summonses were issued, the majority of which were for possession of alcohol by a minor.
In addition to the summonses, four arrests were made — two for criminal trespassing, one for disorderly conduct and one for failing to provide correct identity and refusing to submit to arrest.