WATERVILLE — Thomas College this summer will build artificial turf fields for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey if all goes according to plan.

Thomas officials presented the Planning Board Monday night with an informal preapplication for those turf fields, as well as for a 9,500-square-foot welcome center the college hopes to build in a few years.

The fields and welcome center are part of the college’s master plan and would be built on the southern end of the campus.

“It’s all in relationship to our strategic plan for growth,” Beth Gibbs, Thomas’ chief financial officer, said Tuesday.

The Planning Board on Monday considered a request from Thomas to abolish Eaglewood Estates Subdivision, a subdivision Thomas College bought. The one house in the subdivision will be moved to make way for the fields and center.

The road through the subdivision, Eaglewood Drive, was accepted by the city as a city street.

The board and Thomas officials reached a compromise on whether Eaglewood Drive should be discontinued, with the board recommending only part of the road be discontinued and Thomas agreeing to maintain the entire road.

The board first voted 5-0 Monday to recommend that the City Council discontinue Eaglewood Drive at Public Works Director Mark Turner’s suggestion.

But Thomas officials countered that if the city discontinued the entire road, the college would not have access to its property.

City Planner Ann Beverage said the college wants to have an entrance off West River Road that would loop through the campus in a semi-circle and connect with the current entrance farther north on the road.

The board also voted to recommend the City Council rezone four parcels to make way for the project; however, the board recommended the council not rezone a lot on the west side of West River Road. Abutters voiced concern about what would be built on that property.

Thomas officials are scheduled to return to the board Monday, March 5, according to Beverage.

Gibbs said Tuesday that construction of the welcome center would be a few years away.

As part of the master plan, the college is planning a new academic building and residence hall. An addition was built onto the dining center, which was renovated and officials hope to renovate the remainder of the student center this summer, Gibbs said.

In other business Monday, Colby College presented planners with an informal preapplication review for a math and science building the college wants to build on the east side of Mayflower Hill, near the Diamond Building and across the road from the art building.

The three-story, brick building would be similar to, but smaller than, the Diamond Building, Beverage said. Colby officials are scheduled to return to the board for final approval Feb. 27.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]


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