WATERVILLE — The public will have a chance Thursday to tour Colby College’s new $25.5 million mixed-use residential complex downtown.
The 10 a.m. event at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons will include speeches by Colby President David Greene and Bill Alfond, a 1972 Colby alumnus and member of the college’s board of trustees, who, with his wife, made a leadership gift toward the effort.
Colby officials say Thursday’s event marks an important moment in Colby and city history because it’s the first time in more than 60 years that Colby students have lived downtown. The college completed its move from what is now Colby Circle downtown to Mayflower Hill in 1952.
More than 200 students and faculty and staff members recently moved into the building at 150 Main St. and will be part of a civic engagement program that ties their academic pursuits to work with local organizations.
Construction of the complex is part of a broader revitalization effort by Colby officials, city leaders, local business people and community organizations. The goal is to draw more people to live and work downtown, spur economic development, enhance the arts and help deepen the connection between Colby and the city.
Colby is investing millions of dollars in revitalization efforts, including renovation of a historic bank building at 173 Main St., across the street from the new residential complex. Colby plans to build a hotel farther south on Main Street and develop a center for contemporary art and film at the site of The Center at 93 Main St.
The ground floor of the new residential complex will be home to Camden National Bank, which plans to move into the southeast corner this fall. Part of the ground floor also will be used for retail businesses, and the Waterville City Council, Planning Board and other groups will use the Chace Community Forum, a glassed-in area in the northeast corner, for meetings.
The building has 52 student apartments and eight faculty and staff apartments on the upper four floors.
Colby students Moeketsi Justice Mokobocho, left, and Matt Reasor, right, stand in front of the new Colby College dormitory on Main Street in downtown Waterville. (Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel)