Groundbreaking Set for Alumni Center



Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new 28,000-square-foot alumni and development center, the first building in an ambitious plan to create an entire new campus district around the Colby Green, are scheduled for April 17. One of four new buildings proposed in the College's strategic plan, the $5.7-million center should be completed for the opening of the 2005-06 school year.

While the alumni building will provide a welcoming venue near the center of campus for alumni visits and activities, offices in it will begin to address a College-wide office-space crunch. The move of development, alumni relations and communications departments into the new building will start a series of dominos that will free up space on the main academic quad for much-needed faculty offices.

"It's a place for alumni to gather and to feel part of the institution," said Trustee Douglas M. Schair '67, an early advocate for the alumni and development center. But the new building has important symbolic significance beyond its status as the first edifice in the broader construction program, he says.

Looking at the new facilities, new programs and strengthened faculty and financial aid resources to which Colby aspires, Schair stressed the importance of getting the alumni relations and fund-raising functions marshaled under one roof. To fulfill the ambitious vision for Colby's future, "You have to build a foundation," he said, "and this is an essential building block."

Vice President for College Relations Richard Ammons, who joined Colby's administration last fall, said he was "pleasantly surprised and impressed" with this commitment to alumni programming and to providing appropriate space for his division. With broad experience in development and institutional advancement work at other leading colleges and universities, Ammons said he is familiar with the challenges of "cobbling together good venues for meetings and for convivial gatherings in spaces not created for this."

The public spaces will serve students and faculty as well as alumni, since the large hall facing the new Colby Green will be a valuable new location for campus events during the school year. The large event room will be able to seat up to 150 for meals and will accommodate larger crowds with seating arranged for a lecture format.

Check out the Colby Green Web site.