WATERVILLE — Some rave about the top-to-bottom windows overlooking downtown. Others point to the massive, modern bathrooms in each room.

Ben Iannuzzi notices the cup of mints greeting him in the lobby of his residence.

“They’re a small thing, but it makes it feel like a hotel,” said Iannuzzi, a 19-year-old sophomore from Wilton, Connecticut.

For this year and this year only, some 100 Colby College students get to call the new, $26 million Lockwood Hotel home.

As the soon-to-be-finished hotel at 9 Main St. has evolved over the 2020-21 academic year, Colby students were witness to the process.

“It’s pretty sweet because it’s brand new — really nice facilities,” Isabelle Seeman, a junior from Weston, Massachusetts, said outside the hotel earlier this week.


The Lockwood Hotel is not open yet to the public, but its “guest list” is already long. The four-story building has 53 rooms, all occupied by Colby students.

While students got an early look at the hotel, the public can get its first true look at the Lockwood later this month. The Front & Main Restaurant is slated to open Thursday.

Although the hotel is owned by Colby, it will be managed by Charlestowne Hotels. After the spring semester ends in May, student furniture and temporary carpeting will be removed from the building. The rooms will then be transformed for future guests.

The hotel is expected to open in the 2021-22 academic year, college officials said this week.

Colby College students Oscar Garcia, 20, of Houston, left, and Lensky Augustin, 21, of Salisbury, Maryland, live at the Lockwood Hotel in downtown Waterville. Greg Levinsky/Morning Sentinel

Oscar Garcia is in his second year as a community adviser (think resident assistant), along with Lensky Augustin and Stewart Eagan. After Garcia spent his first year at an on-campus dormitory, the hotel is a big change.

“Aesthetically, it’s slightly more pleasing to the eye,” said Garcia, 20, of Houston. “It’s definitely bigger.”


Augustin said he served as a community adviser last spring, but that experience was cut short due to the pandemic. The 21-year-old from Salisbury, Maryland, described his experience at the Lockwood as “a mix of luxury and disadvantages.”

Colby students living at the Lockwood offered similar thoughts on their access to food. Unlike the rooms at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons up the road, the hotel rooms do not have kitchens.

Breakfast is delivered to the Lockwood every day, but students must get lunch and dinner at dining rooms on campus. Colby offers shuttle buses whose routes include stops at the hotel, giving students easy access to campus.

The hotel’s back entrance is set up for pickups and drop-offs, including a covered outdoor area. Students with cars on campus are able to park a short walk from the hotel.

“While the Lockwood was never intended to be a residence hall, the College has worked hard to meet the needs of students living there and respond to their feedback,” Colby officials wrote in a prepared statement. “Colby has also provided additional furnishing for specific areas in the hotel for studying and lounging. Additionally we have rerouted the downtown shuttle so that students living at the hotel have continuous access to campus, and can fully participate and engage in all academic and extracurricular activities.”

Iannuzzi shares his room at the Lockwood with Phil Kaplan. They had hoped to spend the year at an on-campus suite, but were put on a waiting list. Iannuzzi and Kaplan thought about living off campus, but Colby required all students to live on campus this year.


Seeman said she hoped to study in Spain for a semester this year, but the coronavirus pandemic canceled most study abroad programs.

Colby College student Stewart Eagan of Pendleton, Kentucky, is one of the community advisers living at the Lockwood Hotel in downtown Waterville. Contributed photo

“We saw there were a lot of the last rooms normally picked on campus, but we saw there were a lot of rooms in the hotel,” Iannuzzi said. “We saw how much nicer the rooms were.”

Eagan, one of the community advisers, said it is important in her position to “set an example” for pandemic safety in the Lockwood. The commute to campus for food and to use the library can be frustrating, she said, but having the extra space in the Lockwood is a plus.

Like Seeman, Eagan of Pendleton, Kentucky, was expecting to study abroad last fall. Students who were scheduled to study in another country in the fall were not able to enter the housing lottery last spring because there was still the possibility they would not be here. Many Lockwood residents are in similar situations.

“Many people opted for Lockwood rooms because they were going to be bigger in size than on-campus accommodations,” Eagan said. “For me, I will remember it as it offered challenges as a (community adviser) of trying to figure out how to create community, and push me to be more creative in making plans.”

Eagan said living at the Lockwood can feel isolating, especially given the limited social scene due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“It’s not a perfect space because the very nature of it does not inspire community in a dorm that is already providing a physical block from campus,” she said. “Depending on the residents, some people have dealt with the isolation better, but some people have made the decision to move to campus because it does negatively affect their mental health.”

Due to the pandemic, most community events have gone virtual. Having all students at campus housing for the academic year has helped facilitate the college’s COVID-19 testing plan and contract tracing measures, beneficial for the college and greater Waterville.

When students arrived in the fall, the inside of the hotel was mostly complete, but the outside was still under construction. Iannuzzi said he remembers when crews were drilling outside his fourth-floor window for a week in the early morning.

“It was definitely a bit of an eyesore at the start, but you could see it over the first semester getting built,” Iannuzzi said. “Now, I would say, it’s a beautiful building to live in.”

The Lockwood is expected to be buzzing on graduation weekends for decades to come. In the not-too-distant future, anyone will be welcome to stay at the Lockwood.

But for now, Colby students are experiencing hotel living and seeing firsthand a project almost completed.

“When we came here in August, it was pretty much a construction site,” Augustin said. “Honestly, it looks amazing now.”

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