WATERVILLE — Colby College alumnus Malcolm Chace has donated $1 million to support a community meeting space at the northeast corner of the mixed-use residential complex Colby is building downtown.

The space will be named Chace Community Forum and is an intentionally integrated civic and institutional room designed to enhance the ways Colby, the community and civic leaders work together on issues related to Waterville and beyond, according to a Colby news release.

The $1 million gift from Chace, who graduated from Colby in 1990 and is the parent of a Colby senior, will support construction of the 3,800-square-foot space on the first floor of 150 Main St. and will “endow robust programming organized by students, including workshops, symposia, and lectures that will engage a broad cross-section of the Waterville community.”

The series of events will be named for the Chace family. The Chace Community Forum will be home to Waterville City Council meetings sometime after the construction of the dormitory is complete.

Other public meetings also will be held in the forum, which will serve as a resource for local nonprofit organizations by providing public gathering space in the heart of downtown.

Colby President David A. Greene said Chace’s generosity will make it possible for Colby students to interact with and learn from neighbors in the community.

“This downtown project is unique in the way that it connects our students to the community through civic engagement, and this remarkable gift aligns beautifully with the spirit and mission of the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons,” Greene said.

The mixed-use residential complex will house 200 Colby students and faculty and staff members in a program blending community work, academics and service in a rapidly revitalizing downtown and beyond.

Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae, a 1994 Colby graduate, sees the addition of accessible community space and the speaker series as critical to the civic-engagement mission of the new residence.

“This new space represents Colby’s commitment to the wider community,” said Burrell-McRae, who oversees civic engagement at Colby and is working with faculty members, students, and community partners to create a new, robust program this year. “Interaction is key to being responsible for and accountable to each other. As we become involved with meaningful collaborative work with our neighbors, we are afforded the opportunity to learn from those we welcome into the forum.”

Burrell-McRae and Brian Clark, Colby’s vice president for planning, met with more than 25 community groups and civic organizations last year to help frame the mission of The Chace Community Forum.

“Colby’s commitment to the city of Waterville is nothing short of inspiring,” Chace said. “This effort is the real thing and will forever transform the community in bold and imaginative ways. We could not be more pleased to partner in this dynamic new revitalization.”

The Chace family, which has a decadeslong commitment to the revitalization of historic areas, is responsible for numerous renewal and revitalization projects in its home city, Providence, Rhode Island. In the 19th century, ancestor Oliver Chace founded textile mills in Rhode Island, including the Valley Falls Co., an antecedent of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Colby dormitory, to be called the Bill and Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, is scheduled to open in August. Made up of four- and six-bedroom apartments, the complex also will include apartments for several faculty and staff members as well as lounge and fitness areas and classroom space. Retail space will occupy part of the ground level. The Chace Community Forum will include flexible seating, a catering kitchen to support local businesses, and state-of-the-art audio-visual capacity.

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