Bowdoin can now be added to the list of institutions pursuing funds from the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed on February 17 by President Barack Obama.

The College sent a letter to Maine Governor John Baldacci's office, looking to receive state funds for "shovel-ready" construction projects in Brunswick and "green initiatives" around campus, according to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley.

The College's list of projects totaled $10.3 million. Of that amount, the College estimated that $6.675 million were "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects ready to begin immediately, with the other $3.625 million proposed for "green initiatives."

Longley said it was too early to tell whether Bowdoin will qualify for the stimulus funds.

"It is unclear whether Bowdoin would qualify for any of the funds for any stimulus package funding for construction projects," Longley said. "But we do stand ready to commence these projects if funding becomes available."

The proposed infrastructure projects include replacing the storm water drain at the intersection of College Street and Park Row, rerouting traffic flow and improving safety at the intersection of Bath Road and Maine Street, replacing 4,200 linear feet of aged and leaking steamlines, and designing and installing a co-generation facility in the central heating plant. The College has offered to work with the Town of Brunswick on both the Park Row storm water drain project, as well as the Bath Road/Maine Street intersection project.

Bowdoin's "green initiatives," a list of eight projects, includes replacing 384 windows in Coles Tower and 115 windows at Hawthorne-Longfellow Library with energy-efficient windows, as well as installing solar panels on the south face of the Farley Field House roof.

Senior Vice President for Planning and Development and Secretary of the College Bill Torrey said he thought the "odds were pretty long" that Bowdoin would see a large amount of the stimulus funds.

"Where do we fall in the pecking order? If they need a boiler at the University of Maine and a boiler here, they're more likely to get one up there," Torrey said.

State Rep. Charlie Priest, whose district includes a large portion of Bowdoin's campus, said that the negotiations in the State Legislature were still "very preliminary."

Priest said that because of the closing of the Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) in 2011, he and other representatives from the Mid-Coast area were making the case that the Brunswick area needed funds from the state.

"But the problem is the base hasn't closed yet, and this is money which is going to be spent immediately," Priest said.

"There are a lot of other places that have been hit by the downturn in Maine, like Washington County" in the easternmost part of the state, Priest added. "So they will certainly make a strong argument as well."

In an e-mail to the Orient, Brunswick Acting Town Manager Gary Brown wrote that the town was pursuing state money for education, rail service from Portland to Brunswick, expansion and repairs to the Central Fire Station, and infrastructure work, among other projects.

Plans for the infrastructure projects, Brown wrote, were either "close to being ready" or "will be ready in the near future," depending on the specific project.


Another aspect of President Obama's stimulus bill includes $3 billion allocated to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $10.4 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), organizations that give grants to a number of Bowdoin professors every year.

Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd said she recently met with professors who currently have grants to discuss the implications of the newly available funds. Judd said she was optimistic about the funds trickling down to Bowdoin professors.

"It probably means that those currently with grants will be able to get an extension to their current grant, particularly if it will support a postdoctoral fellow, or a lab technician—in other words, that part of the stimulus that is about employment opportunities," Judd said.

Judd said she saw the NSF, in particular, as an organization that "is much broader in terms of basic research, and there are some particular places where the primarily undergraduate institutions may be able to carve out a niche."

However, Judd said she was cautious about overextending resources in order to accommodate the short-term stimulus funds.

"We have to be careful that what we do creates enhancement for the academic program that doesn't create a long-term obligation that we can't meet," she said. "We wouldn't add a new tenure track faculty line unless I somehow knew how I would fund that beyond the period of the stimulus bill."

Director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station of Kent Island Damon Gannon said he had planned to apply for a grant from the NSF even before talk of a stimulus package surfaced this winter.

"We were hoping to upgrade some of the infrastructure on Kent Island, primarily the main dorm on the island," Gannon said. The upgrades, which Gannon said totaled approximately $250,000, were altered slightly when it became apparent that stimulus money would become available.

"We have gone back and changed plans a little bit, and expanded the scope a little bit," he said.