WATERVILLE (AP) – Colby College trustees have approved the first phase of $26.2 million construction project that will reshape the campus over the next decade with four new buildings and an expansive common lawn.

The first phase of the project will begin this summer when workers break ground on what will be called the Colby Green, an elliptical lawn across the street from the college’s library.

The lawn, modeled after a traditional New England town common, will serve as the anchor for two new academic buildings and a new alumni and administrative center. A fourth new building, a music instruction and performance center, is planned on another part of campus.

Colby officials are calling the project their most significant building initiative since construction of the current Colby campus from the 1930s into the 1950s. That was when the college moved from downtown Waterville to its current Mayflower Hill location.

Arnold Yasinski, Colby’s administrative vice president, said groundbreaking on the project’s first phase will begin this summer, and will involve building the Colby Green and extending electricity, water and other infrastructure to the site.

Colby trustees in mid-April approved spending $6.2 million for the project’s first phase.

The school plans to hold a $20 million fund-raising campaign to pay for the remaining project costs.

Construction on the alumni and development center is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2004 and be complete the following summer. The two academic buildings are tentatively scheduled to be built in six and 10 years, while the music center won’t be completed until 2010 at the earliest.

“This is not so much about now,” Yasinski said. “This is a project that will happen over a decade.”

The expansion is part of the school’s long-term comprehensive plan unveiled last May.

AP-ES-04-30-03 1412EDT

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