Campus News

Bowdoin Gains Federal Approval for Navy Land

Story posted April 01, 2008

Bowdoin has received preliminary approval from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) for its request to acquire approximately 175 developable acres at the Brunswick Naval Air Station when the base closes in 2011. The additional land would substantially increase the size of the 215-acre campus.

The DOE's approval for a no cost "public benefit conveyance" of the land to the College is contingent on satisfactory remediation by the U.S. Navy of any environmental contamination discovered on the property. Transfer of the land to Bowdoin &mndash; which was approved in August 2007 by the Brunswick Local Redevelopment Authority (BLRA) — is also contingent upon Navy acceptance of the DOE and BLRA recommendations.

DOE approval is the latest milestone in a multi-step process begun in September 2006 when Bowdoin President Barry Mills announced Bowdoin's intent to pursue the acquisition of Navy land which he described as "critical to the College's ability to meet the growing needs of the College community.

"We are very pleased by the Department of Education's recommendation to transfer this land to Bowdoin — not only because of what it will mean for the College, but also what it will mean for the entire Brunswick community," said Mills.

"With the land necessary for future expansion, Bowdoin can continue to meet the educational needs of our students while also enhancing our role as an economic mainstay in Brunswick and mid-coast Maine. We are grateful to the Department and to the members of our community who have supported and assisted us in this critical effort."

The land Bowdoin seeks to acquire includes the following:

  • Approximately six acres along Bath Road near the northwest corner of the base for the centralization and relocation of Bowdoin's maintenance operations

  • 30-40 acres located northwest of the base's main runway for the construction of a classroom/laboratory building to support wetlands restoration and environmental studies, three athletic fields and ancillary parking

  • 130-140 acres located southwest of the base's main runway for the construction of two student residence halls, one administrative/classroom building, four athletic fields and ancillary parking

  • A building at the base (Building #644) and nearby parking for relocation of Bowdoin's network servers and for technology support purposes

Bowdoin College, which is a tax-exempt, non-profit institution, is currently the 8th largest taxpayer in Brunswick. The College employs approximately 850 people — most of whom reside in the greater Brunswick area — and provides an annual unrestricted voluntary contribution to the Town of Brunswick ($100,000 in 2007). Goods and services purchased by Bowdoin College from Brunswick vendors exceeded $11 million in 2007.

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