WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday will consider an informal preapplication for a $200 million athletic complex to be built at Colby College that would have the first Olympic-sized swimming pool in the state.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in council chambers at The Center at 93 Main St. The agenda includes a request from the Alfond Youth Center to put community gardens and 12,500 square feet of parking on a lot at 121 North St. across the street from the youth center. The youth center purchased the lot and demolished a house that was on it.

The board also will review preliminary and final plans for a 110-by-125-foot auto body repair shop for Maurice & Sons at the intersection of College Avenue and Crossway Street across the road from Huhtamaki. A request by Assistance Plus to install a sign for 3 Michael Lane also will be considered.

The proposed 350,000-square-foot athletic complex at Colby is believed to be the largest in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, which includes Colby, Bates, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Hamilton, Trinity, Williams, Amherst and Connecticut colleges, as well as Wesleyan and Tufts universities.

No vote will be taken on the proposal Monday, according to City Planner Ann Beverage.

“It’s a chance for the Planning Board to take a quick look and make suggestions for changes,” she said.

The complex is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2020. The plans include an indoor competition center with a 200-meter track and a multi-level, 13,500-square-foot fitness center. The new center, to be available for use by the community, region and state, will be among the best Division III facilities in the country, according to Colby officials.

City Manager Michael Roy said Friday that the construction value of the project will represent “a very significant economic boost for Waterville and the region.”

“There will be jobs associated with the project, incomes earned, meals purchased, gas purchased, hotels — a ripple effect throughout the Waterville area,” Roy said.

The center will include a gymnasium, squash and aquatic centers, a hockey arena, studios, training rooms and coaching suites. It will be built to the west of the current center across Campus Drive from Johnson Pond, where an athletic field now is located. It will feature the first 50-meter swimming pool in the state and an open-air atrium allowing outdoor light throughout the facility. Colby officials say the center will serve as a resource for the entire campus, as well as athletes from Waterville, the state and New England.

Colby President David Greene said recently that preparatory work will start on the center this summer and fall with the idea that construction will follow. Construction will take about three years, he said.

The building of the center represents the largest single project in the college’s history and is expected to create an economic boon to the city, bringing in more than $1 million in revenue a year to the area from people staying in hotels and eating and spending money on other activities, according to Greene. The aquatic center is expected to become a destination in northern New England for swimming groups from across the state.

Colby also is investing more than $45 million in downtown revitalization efforts that include building a student residential complex and boutique hotel and renovating an historic building, all on Main Street.

The current Harold Alfond Athletic Center on Campus Drive will be demolished after the new facility is complete.

The decision to build a new athletic center was driven by three things, according to Greene. He said that more than a third of students come to Colby as athletes and play on intercollegiate varsity teams, and providing them with championship-caliber venues is important to Colby. The venues Colby has are no longer appropriate for competition because they were built so long ago, according to Greene. For instance, the college has a 220-yard indoor track, but now people race on 200-meter tracks, he said.

Many of the structural and mechanical systems at the current athletic center have outlived themselves, and to keep the building going would require an extraordinary investment, Greene said.

Excavation started last year to move Colby competition fields to create space for the new athletic complex. Those three new competition and recreational fields include a practice field, a competition soccer field and Bill Alfond Field, which will continue to be used for competition field hockey and lacrosse. The new fields are behind the current athletic center and will be playable in the fall.

Colby also built and opened last year a new, lighted, turf baseball-softball complex off Mayflower Hill Drive east of the current athletic center that will continue to be available for the community and local school teams.

The new pool will be the only Myrtha pool in New England and features precision technology used in pools for international competition, according to Colby officials. Of the 2,000 students from more than 80 countries enrolled at Colby, more than 80 percent take part in organized athletics and about a third are varsity athletes, they said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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