Campus News

College to Seek Navy Land

Story posted September 28, 2006

Bowdoin College has announced that it will seek to acquire approximately 450 acres of land at the nearby 3,300-acre Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS), a federal facility slated to be closed in 2011.

Successful acquisition of the land would more than triple the size of Bowdoin's 205-acre Brunswick campus, providing for the College's current needs and for future expansion in a way that would minimize the impact on surrounding residential neighborhoods.

In a September 28 letter to the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority (BLRA), Bowdoin President Barry Mills announced Bowdoin's intent to pursue the acquisition of the land which he described as "...critical to the College's ability to meet the growing needs of the College community."

The conveyance of BNAS land to Bowdoin College would "close the loop" on a series of land transfers involving the base, the town, and the College dating back nearly two centuries. The Town of Brunswick conveyed a portion of the Brunswick Town Commons to Bowdoin College in 1813. This land was leased back to the town by the College in the early 1940s and was acquired in 1944 by the U.S. government through eminent domain. This particular parcel, approximately 200 acres in size, today constitutes a portion of the runway at BNAS.

Bowdoin_BNAS.jpg

The 450 acre parcel now sought by Bowdoin is closer to the College's main campus (see map at left). In his letter to the BLRA, Mills described the parcel as "...virtually all of the property west of the runway to Old Bath Road, including the area known as the 'saw tooth,' and property south of this point to (but not including) the golf course."

While the College has no immediate plans to develop the property, Mills noted that Bowdoin "...would use this property consistent with our educational mission, including academic, administrative and recreational purposes," and that any future development of the property "...would be in compliance with all applicable natural resource and environmental conditions."


Bowdoin College, which is a tax-exempt, non-profit institution, is currently the 8th largest tax payer in Brunswick. The College pays taxes on some real estate and several taxable operations, such as its bookstore and restaurant operations. In addition, it also makes annual voluntary contributions to the Town of Brunswick in excess of $172,000. The College employs 850 people, most of whom reside in the greater Brunswick area.

Mills says the College will submit an application to the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Education for a public benefit conveyance of the land as soon as Federal surplus property at BNAS is declared by the United States Navy.

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