As the date for Brunswick Naval Air Station's (NASB) closure approaches, Bowdoin continues to move ahead with its plan to acquire approximately 175 developable acres of land on the west side of the base.

"The process of acquiring the land has not changed since 2007," wrote Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley in an e-mail to the Orient.

"What has changed is the amount of information we now have about the property, its characteristics, and suitability for and constraints to development. The College is currently updating its application to the Department of Education (DOE) to include more specific information gathered from site surveys," she wrote.

In 2007, the College applied to the DOE for a public benefit (no-cost) conveyance of three parcels of developable land within the western portion of the base.

Specifically, the College seeks to acquire the "445-acre area of the western portion of the base between Harpswell Road and the runways extending from Bath Road to Middle Bay Road," said Longley.

NASB is set to close in May 2011 following the completion of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission Report (BRAC).

"There are additional steps that will be taken once the DOE gives final approval of the public benefit conveyance," said Longley.

"Before the land can be transferred to the College, the Navy must complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the property. The final EIS is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year," she said.

The Navy must also complete a Finding of Suitability for Transfer (FOST), which states that the property is environmentally suitable for transfer.

"Once these three steps are completed, the property can be transferred to the College," said Longley.

The College is also collaborating with the Town of Brunswick to acquire the NASB property.

The Base Reuse Master Plan, which "provides a summary of proposed land use districts, with corresponding areas allocated for each land use type," allots 200 acres, or six percent of the total land, for educational use.

"In agreement with the Town and in accordance with the Base Reuse Master Plan, land not suitable for development or educational use within this area will be conveyed to the Town of Brunswick for conservation purposes," said Longley.

"We're getting the balance of the land on the west side of the airstrip that the College isn't getting, and other land to the south and east of the airfield, about 1,000 acres in all," said Brunswick Town Supervisor Gary Brown. "Basically, what's happening on the west side of the runway is that the College is getting 175 acres of land that it can develop. It's not going to be one piece of property, but several sections of property."

"[We] wouldn't be sharing the property, but splitting it in different ways. We're splitting the property up between the two ends," said Brown.

According to Longley, plans for the use of the NASB property are still being developed.

The Base Reuse Master Plan states that "the intent of the 200-acre Education district . . . is to allow for university and college-level academic, administrative, and support facilities."

"The College intends to use the property for environmental studies and academic research, new athletic fields, maintenance operations, possible visual art and performance space, and outdoor recreation," said Longley.

Although the land will be acquired at no cost to the College, costs may be incurred upon construction and development of the site, said Longley.

She noted, however, that "it is too early in the process to know the order of magnitude of costs. Careful planning will be required to make sure that there is no negative impact on College finances."