New Residence Opens Doors


Graham Shimmield was executive director of the Laboratory for nine years and passed away last December after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was instrumental in securing the funding and directing the design of the new residence hall, as well as the main laboratory. During the dedication ceremony, a selection of speakers shared stories of his many contributions to international ocean science, the state of Maine, and Bigelow Laboratory.

“The building design reflects things Graham valued — incredibly high energy efficiency, reduced ecological footprint, and architecture that is as innovative as Bigelow Laboratory’s science,” said Steve Malcom, member of the board of trustees and chair of the building committee. “It is a building that uses form, transparency, and landscape to blur boundaries inside and out.”

Funded through the generosity of the Harold Alfond Foundation and an anonymous donor, the Graham Shimmield Residence Hall provides on-campus housing to scientists and students visiting our laboratory. This much-needed resource supports the Laboratory’s expanding international partnerships and educational programs for students of all ages.

Overlooking the Damariscotta River, the new residence includes 32 dorm beds with a shared kitchen facility, as well as four fully equipped apartments and a conference space. A 264-panel solar array built as part of the project generates more than enough energy to power the highly efficient building.

Only two days after the dedication ceremony, the first group of student residents arrived for a professional development course in algal culturing techniques. They were followed closely by 16 high school students participating in our weeklong Keller BLOOM program. Twenty-three summer interns moved in three days later and began their independent research projects.

“Graham greatly expanded our impact during his nine years at the helm,” said Benjamin Twining, a senior research scientist who is serving as interim executive director. “The building is a beautiful tribute, but the true legacy of his vision for Bigelow Laboratory is the thousands of careers that will be sparked and nurtured inside its walls.”