After one final flurry of activity with the swine flu outbreak in fall 2009, Dudley Coe lost its title as Health Center to the state-of-the-art Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness. As the state-of-the-art Buck Center opened its doors, the role of the historic Dudley Coe changed for the first time in almost 100 years. With health services no longer present in the building, the first infirmary in College history was finally closed.
Built in 1917 after much urging from then-President William DeWitt Hyde, the infirmary was a progressive addition at the time and made Bowdoin one of the most advanced institutions in health services. Throughout the years, the building served to treat communicable diseases and illnesses among students and provided immunizations and sports medicine.
Hyde, the College's seventh president and successor to Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, included the need for an infirmary in his 1915-1916 Report of the President. Later that year, Bowdoin alum Dr. Thomas Upham Coe donated money to cover the entire cost of the construction. Coe asked that the building be named after his only son Dudley, who passed away at 14 years old.
Dudley Coe was designed and built in a style similar to the infirmary at Williams College, with a Colonial-style exterior and a three-level interior complete with kitchen, laundry, reception areas, wards for diseases such as scarlet fever and a nurses' suite, among other features.
Currently, the building houses the campus copy center, WBOR radio station, the Off-Campus Study Office, the Upward Bound program and select faculty offices.
The Upward Bound program moved into the main floor after the opening of the Buck Center and plans to remain in the building for the foreseeable future. The program, which receives federal funding from the Department of Education encourages first generation college students and those from low-income households to go to college. The program has long existed at Bowdoin, but is new to the building.
"During the academic year, we provide academic services like tutoring," said office assistant Danny Vicario '11. "We also provide college counseling, and the whole purpose is really to increase college access and students going to college and staying [there]."
In addition to these services, Upward Bound also runs extensive summer programs.
"In the summer, we also have a residential program at Bowdoin where students take classes and continue to prepare for college," Vicario added. "We try to simulate a quasi-college experience."
For now, Upward Bound and the other offices that inhabit Dudley Coe are slated to stay put for the foreseeable future.
Currently, the College has no additional plans for renovations or changes regarding Dudley Coe, said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer Katy Longley.
It is common in the College's history for buildings to be renovated and re-used and many buildings in recent history have been turned over.
"For example, Jewett [Hall] used to be the Admissions Office and now it's IT," and Studzinski Hall used to house the pool, said Longley. "We adapt and reuse buildings all the time."
"We're not doing any capital projects right now," said Longley, "But even if we had money, that's not a building that's on the planning agenda to renovate."
If plans do arise for Dudley Coe, however, Longley notes that the College community would be fully informed about the plans.
"There would be some publicity about it."