Students returned to a more energy efficient campus last week thanks to numerous renovations and upgrades that took place over the summer. 

“Some summers [have] more smaller projects, sometimes we have bigger ones and less smaller ones,” said Director of Facilities Operations Ted Stam. “We had a few bigger ones this year.” 
One of this year’s biggest projects was the renovations of the third and fourth floors of Coles Tower—the first phase of the College’s plan to renovate the entire building. For the next four years, several floors will be renovated each summer until the entire Tower has been revamped. 

“A lot of what we did you can’t see,” said John Simoneau, capital projects manager. 
In addition to renovating the two floors, the College replaced the Tower’s original 1952 electrical system and made numerous masonry repairs on the exterior of the building. Work began June 6 and was finished by August 20.

Thanks to a gift from the Class of 1953, as well as grant from the George I. Alden Trust, the College was also able to refurbish Hubbard Hall’s west classroom, now called the Thomas R. Pickering Room. The room boasts new rugs, desks, lighting and audiovisual technology, and window shades and its acoustics have been improved. The classroom will be officially dedicated on October 20.  

Another of the large projects took place at the former Stevens Home at 52 Harpswell Road, when it was converted into chem-free student housing. The building now houses 35 upperclassmen. The College also relocated the organic garden to the back of the property. 
The building required a complete overhaul—nearly everything but the basic structure was altered. Benches in the hallway of 52 Harpswell were constructed using recycled wood from  the benches at the former Dayton Hockey Arena. 

After receiving a grant from Efficiency Maine, an independent administrator for energy efficiency programs in Maine, the College was able to replace lighting in 14 campus buildings, including the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, with LED bulbs. 

Hyde Plaza, the area around the Polar Bear statue, was widened with new granite pavers and planted flowers. 

Off campus, Capital Projects oversaw both renovations and an addition to the Coastal Studies Center. 

“We created a dry laboratory space because most of the space was originally designed for marine research with sea water and a corrosive environment,” said Simoneau. “Now if you want to use analytical equipment and things like that associated with your sea work, there’d need to be a separate space where you could take a tissue sample. They’ve got all new tanks for their seawater system.” 

Construction for a new administrative building at 216 Maine Street is currently underway and is scheduled to be finished by December. 

“It’s going to house Human Resources, the controller’s office and some other administrative offices which we haven’t decided yet,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Katy Longley.

Most renovations were started and finished during the summer, with crews often working overtime to complete the projects. 

“The work takes place in the summer, the design takes place over the winter,” said Simoneau. 
The College let companies bid on contracts for most of the projects, rather than completing them with its own staff.

“Once it gets big enough to call it a real project, we hire a contractor,” said Stam.