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Colby College and its Waterville partners invite the community to celebrate the completed renovation of a new technology center and major progress on its mixed-use development at 150 Main Street. Community leaders will join College officials to sign the last beam to be hoisted onto that structure, symbolizing the building as a hub for civic engagement and partnership.
The event begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 28. All are welcome to take part in a topping-off ceremony for the new construction followed by a reception and official opening of the beautifully restored 173 Main Street.
The mixed-use complex will house Colby students, faculty, and staff dedicated to a unique program of civic engagement in Waterville. To that end, Colby leaders have been meeting with dozens of community leaders—from clergy to business owners—to better understand the needs of the community and the ways in which Colby’s new program can be of greatest value to the many organizations that work to improve the lives of the city’s residents.
“We’ve been collaborating to gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities inherent in a new center for civic engagement and community partnership on Main Street,” said Brian Clark, Colby’s vice president of planning. “We will soon have an entire residential community deliberately and purposefully engaged in the life of the downtown, and we are committed to ensuring that our Waterville partners and our students are able to make the most of this opportunity.
Clark and Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae ’94 have also been working closely with faculty and students to help envision a curriculum that will connect students’ coursework to work in the community. Colby has a strong history of civic engagement, including the popular Colby Cares About Kids program, and is now involved in an effort to make civic engagement a primary element of the student experience.
The redeveloped 173 Main Street is the first project to be completed as part of Colby’s multifaceted approach to infusing Waterville’s downtown with vitality and in helping to create a more sustainable economy in the city’s core. About a dozen Colby employees are currently there, with workers from CGI, a software consulting group, expected to move in soon. The historic bank building had been vacant for nearly three decades before Colby purchased it in 2015.
The development at 150 Main is slated to open in the fall of 2018 and will also include new retail and a large community forum space on the first level. Landry French Construction has begun enclosing the building and the beam hoisted on Thursday will mark the end of steelwork at the five-story complex. Interior work will continue through the winter. Students will be selected to live in the complex based on their demonstrated commitment to civic engagement as part of their academic pursuits.