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Colby will soon begin moving earth on the northwest corner of campus, setting in motion the largest single project in its history and positioning Colby to provide its community with first-rate athletic facilities across the board. The all-new athletic complex, slated to open in 2020, will be among the best Division III facilities in the nation and serve as a resource for the entire campus, as well as athletes in Waterville, the state of Maine, and New England.
“Colby has a long tradition of athletic excellence, dating back to the 1950s and 60s with the construction of what became the Harold Alfond Athletic Center,” said President David A. Greene. “Six decades later, we have reimagined how we can support the Colby and broader communities with an exceptional new competition and recreational facility.”
- The new, 350,000-square-foot complex will be situated across from Johnson Pond. Some highlights of the planned complex include:
- An indoor competition center with a 200-meter track
- The state’s only Olympic-sized pool and New England’s only Myrtha pool, the type used in Olympic competition
- A multi-level, 13,500-square-foot fitness center, connected to new spaces for yoga and other fitness classes
- A state-of-the-art squash competition center
- An interior atrium that will permit natural light throughout the complex
- New space for athletic trainers, coaching, and team gatherings
- Environmentally sound design for the site and building that includes a compact footprint, renewable energy, ecosystem-sensitive landscape with native plantings, and wetland conservation.
Work began late last year to move and build new fields for competition and practice. Those fields, to be ready for use this fall, will create a competition fields hub on the northeast side of campus near the newly completed baseball and softball complex.
The new complex will allow the College to welcome more local teams and competitions to campus. For example, the pool will draw swim competitions from around the state and potentially the region. Just as Colby’s lighted turf baseball and softball complex (which opened in 2016 and has afforded the earliest play in the NESCAC) is shared with community and local school teams, so too will be the new competition fields slated for completion this year.
“Colby’s athletics facilities have a long tradition of serving as a home for local and regional teams and community users,” said Vice President of Planning Brian Clark. “The new athletics complex will expand on this commitment and, along with outstanding facilities such as the nearby Quarry Road and the Kennebec Messalonskee Trails, will help to make Waterville a true destination for athletics.”
Currently many high school and youth hockey teams use Colby’s ice for practice and competition. This year, more than a dozen local teams used the baseball and softball complex for early games, and the basketball court is also frequently in use by community organizations. The existing facilities are used throughout the summer for local sports camps.
The complex is likely to have a significant economic impact on the mid-Maine region. After construction, it will bring an estimated $1 million annually to Waterville through increased visitors staying in the city and frequenting local businesses.
Colby supports an active, healthy lifestyle for all of its students, and more than 80 percent of them participate in some form of organized athletics, with about one-third of the students varsity athletes. Even more use the athletic facility for exercise, classes, and personal training. The new complex will guarantee the best experience for both competition and lifetime fitness.
The new complex is one among many investments that are setting Colby apart as a preeminent liberal arts college. Major investments in academics, the city of Waterville, arts and innovation, and the Colby Museum of Art—as well as the introduction of the new DavisConnects initiative—are all evidence of how Colby is redefining the liberal arts experience for its students.
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