Nearly one year after the initial projected start date, the College is slated to break ground on both the Barry Mills Hall and the Center for Arctic Studies (CAS) in mid-March at a total cost of $36.5 million. The Board of Trustees approved the budget at their meeting earlier this month.
The construction of Mills Hall and the CAS is a part of the College’s 2004 Master Plan that included the construction of Park Row Apartments and the Harpswell Apartments renovation. The new buildings will be located beside each other and across College Street from the Roux Center, on a plot that is currently behind Dudley Coe and the Smith Union parking lot. Dudley Coe will be taken down to make space for the new buildings. Because of the shared site, basement and mechanicals, the two buildings have been budgeted together as one project and will be built and completed simultaneously.
“[The funding] is all coming from alumni gifts and bond proceeds that we already have in hand,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer of the College Matt Orlando in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “We’re not going to have to go out to market and borrow more money—we’ve got it funded.”
President Clayton Rose first announced the construction of Mills Hall and the CAS in January of 2019. Initially, work was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2020 and be completed by the end of 2021. The design phase proceeded as planned, with the Minneapolis-based architecture firm HGA announcing its plans last February. However, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, construction was delayed through the fall and into the beginning of this year.
“We’re almost exactly a year later than we had originally planned,” said Orlando. “You might see some of the site work happening soon. The museum galleries will likely not open to the community for several months after construction is completed to allow time for the dust to settle and to set up the first exhibits.”