New residence construction begins


Ground was broken to begin construction in earnest on May 9 for a new 32-bed residence for students and visiting scientists on Bigelow Laboratory's campus. It is expected that the new residence will be ready for occupancy in September 2017.

The Harold Alfond Foundation provided a $3.1 million award for construction of the new residence, with a match by an anonymous donor. A separate endowment has been established to cover maintenance and operating costs of the new facility for 50 years.

"This new residence will allow us to expand our educational programs so more students and professionals have access to our world-class scientists," said Graham Shimmield, executive director of Bigelow Laboratory. The Laboratory's educational programs serve high school students from every county in Maine, undergraduate students from across the U.S., professionals and visiting scientists from around the globe.

The new 15,000 square-foot dormitory residence will overlook the Damariscotta River on the Laboratory's East Boothbay campus and will be a short walk from the main Laboratory building and its shore facility. Energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, and respect for the surrounding environment embody the design.

The two-story structure will have 8 double bedrooms on each floor that can be flexibly arranged to accommodate guests numbering from 8 to 32. It also will provide a communal student kitchen and social area, adaptable meeting space that can serve dual functions as an auditorium or recreation area, and fitness and laundry areas.

Two adjacent wings will contain three studio apartments with kitchen, bedroom, and bath to accommodate visiting scientists and other guests, and a two-bedroom apartment to house visitors with families

The ground floor will be below grade to accommodate the natural slope of the landscape, creating a courtyard surrounded by ledge or a "natural amphitheater" in the upper area. A partial green roof will help absorb rainwater, provide insulation, and help create an aesthetically pleasing natural look for the structure. A mixture of glass, natural wood, aluminum, and preformed concrete construction materials will promote longevity and easy maintenance, while allowing the building to blend into the wooded acreage of the waterfront site. A 75 kW array of photovoltaic cells will provide energy to meet all electric needs of the residence, including heating and ventilation.Windows, doors, and insulation will all be energy efficient and provide maximum R-value rating.

Scott Simons Architects of Portland, Maine designed the building. The Portland office of Consigli Construction Company, Inc. is providing construction management services.