Development plans have been in the works for the southern edge of downtown Brunswick for the past three years, and developers hope that Bowdoin's McLellan Building will become an anchor for the multimillion dollar project.
Developments planned in the area known as Maine Street Station would return a train station to the site, as well as establish a stronger connection between Bowdoin and the downtown.
The McLellan Building, at 85 Union St., currently houses the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, as well as the Department of Human Resources, the Office of the Controller, Bowdoin Magazine, Upward Bound, and visual arts and photography studios. In the future, Bowdoin is considering centralizing all Information Technology (IT) functions in the building, since currently IT offices are located in numerous locations.
"One of things we've talked about is getting everyone in the same administrative facility," said Senior Vice President for Planning & Administration & Chief Development Officer William Torrey. "It's probably where we're headed, but we're not there yet."
Torrey also mentioned that Bowdoin is considering leasing some additional office space by the McLellan Building.
In the scheme of Brunswick as a whole, Brunswick Economic Development Director Matthew Eddy said he hopes that redeveloping the area of Brunswick adjacent to the McLellan Building will foster a stronger connection between the College and the town. The Master Development Plan for the area states that the redevelopments will attempt to "return this underutilized, blighted brownfield site to active use as a distinctive part of the downtown's fabric."
Eddy mentioned that possibilities for businesses on site include services like hairdressers, as well as a theater, dance club, and other establishments that are not currently close to the College.
"We're hoping, certainly, that we have things that are of interest to students," said Eddy.
Though the master plan is extensive and has been in the works for several years, there is still work to be done before any redevelopment can begin. The site has been contaminated by coal ash, and therefore must be cleaned by a recycling company that will incorporate the ash in cement processing.
After the site cleanup is completed, construction can move forward, and will tentatively start in June of 2007.
In addition to providing further resources for Bowdoin students, reconstruction of the Maine Street Station site could benefit the community of Brunswick as well. Bringing a train station back to Brunswick is a main goal of the project, and the redevelopment of the site will "create a vibrant, public space that is fostered by a mix of residential and commercial uses," according to the master plan.
While the site is currently considered unattractive by some, developers hope to smoothly incorporate it into the town, as well as the College.
Developers might use the McLellan Building as an anchor for Bowdoin in the redevelopment site. Bowdoin is a part of the ongoing discussions with developers, but no sure plans have been made yet concerning the College's involvement.
"It's too soon to say what our role is going to be," said Torrey. "As far as what our specific plans are, we're not sure."