Rendering of a proposed science building that Bates College plans to complete in 2021 on Campus Avenue. Submitted photo

LEWISTON — Construction of a science building at Bates College is scheduled to get underway next week as crews begin clearing the site on Campus Avenue.

“This is a major undertaking,” Chris Streifel, Bates’ project manager for the new building, said in a prepared statement. “And it’s happening, and here we go.”

Three buildings are slated for demolition in the first stages of the project: A garage on Bardwell Street and two houses at 141 and 145 Nichols Street.

Two Nichols Street houses are slated for demolition this month to make way for a new science building at Bates College in Lewiston. (Sun Journal photo by Steve Collins)

The three-story brick and glass building that will go up on the site is expected to open for the fall 2021 semester.

Located next to the newest dorms at Bates — Kalperis and Chu halls on Campus Avenue— the new structure is designed to house chemistry, biology and neuroscience programs in a bid to propel the college’s science education to a new level.

The initial work will be knocking down the buildings, clearing the plot and installing fencing.

The 65,000-square-foot center is a centerpiece of the $300 million Bates Campaign that has been raising money to boost the college’s science, technology, engineering and math programs.

In addition to the new building, the plan includes upgrades to Dana Chemistry Hall and Carnegie Science Hall after 2021. Dana would become an introductory science center and Carnegie would see major improvements to its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The new construction is possible in large part because of a $50 million donation from the family foundation of Alison Grott Bonney and Michael Bonney, each of whom graduated in 1980.

Michael Bonney, chief executive officer of Kaleido Biosciences, is chairman of the college’s board of trustees, though he is stepping down from the role in June after nine years. Taking his place will be John Gillespie, another 1980 Bates graduate.

The first tangible move on the construction site will be the Friday afternoon closure of a small parking lot at Nichols Street and Campus Avenue. On-street parking near the project site will also be restricted during construction.

Starting next Monday, construction fences will begin going up and a portable field office for Consigli Construction Co., the Massachusetts firm which is managing the work, will open. It managed a number of recent projects at Bates, including the dorm construction next door and the Commons dining hall that opened in 2008.

Soon after, the houses on Nichols Street and the garage on Bardwell Street will vanish.

The Campus Avenue lot where Bates College plans its new science center is covered with snow now, but will soon be a bustling construction site. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)

Excavation for the new building’s foundation may begin before the end of the month, the college says.

The Boston architecture firm hired for the project, Payette, specializes in buildings for health care, health sciences and academic sciences.

Bates hired Payette in 2016 to guide its review of science and technology facilities that ultimately produced a plan that starts with the new building, the college said.

The two houses slated for demolition are within a few blocks bordering Campus Avenue where Bates owns nearly all of the property. It has been eyed for possible large-scale projects in the future, but none is imminent.

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