Students returning from Spring Break on I-295 noticed that after months of sharing a highway sign with a neighboring school, Bowdoin again had a sign all to itself.
According to Herb Thomson, director of communication for the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), the joint sign with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) was first installed approximately one year ago. The signs were then split into two this March.
SNHU, which has a main campus located in Manchester, New Hampshire, has operated an adult education center at the Brunswick Naval Air Station since the 1970s. The university recently opened another facility near the Wal-Mart in Cooks Corner. The university changed its name from New Hampshire College in 2001.
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Katy Longley told the Orient that the College worried that joint sign decreased visibility. She said she placed a call to MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole to request the change.
Longley said that requesting separate signs was no slight to SNHU.
"They asked for a sign and they're entitled to a sign," she said.
Dean of Student Affairs Craig Bradley was nostalgic about the old Bowdoin sign.
"When returning to town from away I have always enjoyed seeing the 'Bowdoin College, Exit 22' [now 28] sign," he said.
"I am pleased that there is another higher educational institution now in this area," Bradley continued. "The more we can do to encourage Maine people to pursue higher education, the better. I am also glad that the highway authorities ultimately saw fit for each institution to have its own road sign."
This has not been the only sign change in recent memory. In 2004, MaineDOT began a highway renumbering project that changed the name of the highway that passes by Brunswick from Interstate 95 to Interstate 295. MaineDOT also switched to a mileage-based exit numbering system which changed the Brunswick exit number from 22 to 28.
Longley placed the sign split in the context of a larger effort to improve signage to and around campus.
She said that the College is working with Jay Paulus of the Bath-based Paulus Design Group, Inc. to accomplish this goal.
Bowdoin has already begun placing new signs around the perimeter of the campus. Once that project is complete, Longley said, the College will begin working to increase signage within the campus.
Longley also said Bowdoin is working with the Town of Brunswick to ease navigation from highway exits to the campus.