REVITALIZING WATERVILLE: BILL AND JOAN ALFOND FOUNDATION GRANT FOR COLBY’S MIXED-USE DOWNTOWN RESIDENCE AND THE DARE NORTHWARD CAMPAIGN
Opening in August for the fall 2018 semester, the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons will be home to 200 students and a handful of faculty. The dorm, which will have a deep focus on civic engagement, will also house Waterville’s city meetings, a branch of Camden National Bank, and more.
The $25-million construction project, whose funding stems from a generous grant by the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, is one of many steps Colby is taking to give back to the city that has given it so much. In fact, it’s estimated that the construction project has infused $14.5 million into the local economy.
Colby would not exist today if it were not for the help and support of the City of Waterville in the early-1920s. The College, whose campus along the Kennebec River had no room for expansion, was forced to look for other opportunities for growth, including potentially moving 20 miles away to Augusta, the state capital. Hoping to keep Colby in the area, the City of Waterville raised $100,000 for the College to purchase Colby’s Mayflower Hill campus.
Alongside the construction of the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, Colby has purchased a number of buildings downtown, including the former Hains Building at 173 Main Street, which is now home to CGI, Colby research and development offices, and Portland Pie Co.
Colby’s investment in Downtown Waterville is expected to surpass $50 million, including additional funding from the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, the Harold Alfond Foundation, and other private sources. Nonetheless, Colby’s efforts to create a vibrant downtown represent only part of the College’s $750-million fundraising campaign, Dare Northward, whose initiatives and goals include the construction of a $200-million, 350,000-square-foot athletic center, a downtown arts center, which recently received a lead gift of $2 million from trustee emeritus Paul J. Schupf, and other investments in faculty and student opportunities, such as the recently-completed DavisConnects Center in the former Grossman dormitory, which ensures global experiences outside of studying abroad for all Colby students thanks to a $25-million gift from Andrew Davis ’85, LL.D. ’15.