Maine’s Colby College opens $200 million athletic facility

Colby raised $120 million for the project.

A Colby College basketball game in March.
A Colby College basketball game in March. –Calvin Wetmore

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) — A private liberal arts college with 2,155 students now has an athletics complex that might be the envy of some NCAA Division I universities.

Colby College has pressed forward with a $200 million athletic facility despite the pandemic and economic downturn.

The 350,000-square-foot Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center, which opened this week, will serve the community, as well as students. Ground was broken in October 2017 and was completed on time despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, officials said.

Across the country, more than 230 NCAA and NAIA athletic teams were eliminated because of budgetary cuts or school closures associated with the coronavirus pandemic. But Colby is keeping all of its sports programs.

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“Whether it’s varsity sports or individual fitness initiatives, competitive or recreational athletics, an active and healthy lifestyle is a critical part of the student experience at Colby. The goal of the new facility is to support that experience at the highest level possible and provide the best resources available,” said Colby Athletics Director Mike Wisecup.

The center features an indoor track and field house with accommodations for pole vault, high jump, long jump, and shot put, along with tennis courts, a 42-foot climbing wall, and a trainer’s suite with hydrotherapy pools.

There’s also three-level Boulos Family Fitness Center that includes a mix of free weights and cardio equipment, and open areas for stretching and training, as well as dedicated fitness studios.

Colby raised $120 million for the project, and the Harold Alfond Foundation provided another $80 million.

Once the pandemic is over, the center will become a resource for community events. “This was always the core intent of the building’s namesake, Harold Alfond, and Colby will continue to honor that purpose,” Wisecup said.

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