A host of campus construction projects and improvements, some completed and some still in progress, will greet students arriving on campus over the next week.
A new building housing biomass boilers that will adapt Colby’s
steam heating plant to burn mostly wood waste and debris is on track for operation this winter, major road reconstruction past the field house and soccer fields is almost complete, and formal groundbreaking for a 26,000-square-foot addition to the museum of art is scheduled in early fall.
A $2.8-million renovation and expansion of the Treworgy residence hall is complete and ready to house students, and Dana dining hall was remodeled with reorganized food-service areas, according to Director of Physical Plant Patricia Whitney.
Landscaping to improve water quality in Johnson Pond, parking lots near athletic fields, temporary art studios, and renovations in residence halls and in faculty offices and labs round out a busy summer schedule for Physical Plant Department crews and contractors.
Road construction on Campus Drive from the athletic center to the interstate overpass—about a half mile—was a million-dollar project funded in a partnership that included the city of Waterville, the state transportation department, and Colby. Final pavement was being laid in the last week of August. As part of the project, paved parking areas are under construction close to the Bill Alfond Field as well as beyond the practice fields near the interstate.
Parking along Campus Drive will be limited, as new curbs and drainage were designed to handle and treat stormwater runoff before it enters Johnson Pond. In a related project, the College completed buffer-strip planting and a sedimentation pond in the first of three phases of landscaping designed to protect water quality in the fragile pond ecosystem, Whitney said.
The $11.15-million project to install biomass boilers at the steam plant will have a huge impact on Colby’s carbon emissions. Wood waste and debris such as tree tops, branches, and other undesirable wood are expected to replace 90 percent of the No. 6, heating oil that the College has relied upon in the past. That means some 22,000 tons of locally sourced biomass will supplant about 1 million gallons of heating oil annually, helping substantially in Colby’s push for carbon neutrality by 2015.
The renovation and expansion of Treworgy, the former Lambda Chi fraternity, marks the fourth of seven residence hall on Roberts Row to be overhauled. Piper and Drummond halls are scheduled for similar treatment in summer 2013, Whitney said. Smaller projects in residence halls added 12 beds in Anthony-Mitchell-Schupf and seven beds in Grossman.
New and returning faculty members got improved office and laboratory space with remodeling of areas on the second and third from of the Olin Science Center and the ground floor in the Diamond Building.
At the Colby College Museum of Art, some preliminary site work was completed in anticipation of a formal groundbreaking in October for the Alfond-Lunder Pavilion. Since construction will displace some art classes, temporary studio space for art foundations classes was installed alongside the Hill guest house and photography facilities were arranged in Roberts. (The museum will close for construction Oct. 3, with certain galleries reopening Nov. 8.)
Following an unusually heavy snow load last winter, structural maintenance was required at the Alfond Ice Arena and the swimming pool area of the athletic center. In addition, major repairs were required in the Pierce Residence Hall after a visitor damaged a sprinkler head and much of three floors in the building flooded in late June, Whitney said.
Looking forward, Whitney said the College expects to achieve LEED certification on the two most recent Roberts Row dorm renovation projects as well as the biomass plant and museum projects when they are completed. This will add to the current total of six LEED certified buildings on campus. Also, officials will revisit and refresh design plans for a new science building for Psychology, Mathematics and Statistics, and Computer Science departments on Colby Green this year. Construction on that project is tentatively scheduled to begin in fall 2012, she said.