WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday got a first look at plans 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 proposed 350,000-square-foot athletic complex will be built on Campus Drive, diagonally across the street from Johnson Pond, and is expected 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 was taken on the proposal Monday, but Colby representatives said they would come back to the board for final approval June 5.

Construction on the athletic complex is expected to start this summer and be ready for occupancy in 2020, after which the current Alfond Athletic Center would be demolished to create green space, according to Mina Amundsen, Colby’s assistant vice president for facilities and campus planning.

“I do want to highlight that sustainability is a key concept for the building and the site,” Amundsen said.

The building will have a landscaped courtyard that is open to the sky, she said. Wetlands along the edges of the site will be preserved.

Stephen Mohr of Mohr & Seredin Landscape Architects, Inc., of Portland, noted that the building will be on 30 acres, 27.5 of which are already developed, so only 2.6 acres will change as a result of the new development. Mohr said there will be “zero wetland impact” as a result of the project.

Kelley Doran, Colby’s assistant director of capital planning and construction and a licensed Maine architect, said there will be two entrances to the building.

“The strength and fitness area will be more or less in the center, on all three levels of the building,” she said.

Because it will be such a large building, officials wanted to bring in a lot of natural light, Doran said. The exterior facade of the building will be a combination of glass and brick, and the exterior around the field house and ice rink will be a mix of metal panels and panels that look like frosted glass, she said.

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.

The new center will include a gymnasium, 50-meter swimming pool, squash and aquatic centers, a hockey arena, studios, training rooms and coaching suites. 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.

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 Colby President Greene. The aquatic center is expected to become a destination in northern New England for swimming groups from across the state.

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 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.

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.

In other matters Monday, the board voted 5-0 to approve final plans for a 12,500-square-foot auto body repair shop at the intersection of College Avenue and Crossway Street. The shop, owned by Maurice & Sons, would have 24 parking spaces outside the building and 16 inside, according to Scott Braley, president of Plymouth Engineering, of Plymouth. It will be located across College Avenue from Huhtamaki.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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