February 10, 2012

Portland architecture firm to design new KVCC campus

FAIRFIELD -- Mohr & Seredin, a landscape architecture firm in Portland, has been selected to design Kennebec Valley Community College's new campus on U.S Route 201.

John Delile, dean of finance and administration at Kennebec Valley Community College, said the company was selected from 15 firms.

He said it has done quality work for three sister community colleges and Colby College, had passed a financial stability test, would team up with experienced partners, and that it could craft the plan within six months.

The company will be paid $98,225 to complete the plan by the end of June.

The Maine Community College System bought the central 690 acres of Good Will-Hinckley's 2,450-acre campus for KVCC; the $4.5 million purchase was made possible when the college system and Good Will-Hinckley received a $10.85 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Good Will-Hinckley was a residential school that closed in 2009. Part of the campus re-opened in September as a science and technology charter school.

Thirteen buildings were part of the sale, including Averill/Alfond School, an organic farm, Alfond Recreation Center, Nutter Field House, Moody Memorial Chapel, six residential houses and a garage.

"We'll progress methodically, carefully, and with consideration of the historic aspects and beauty of the site," Delile said. "We'll do the right thing in the right order."

Doing things in the right order starts with thorough research and study, he said.

Delile said research will encompass where the "front door" of the campus should be, possible traffic patterns, where a residence hall and parking spaces can be located and consideration of the buildings' optimal uses.

Tanya Seredin, president of Mohr & Seredin, said seven people from the firm recently toured and photographed the campus to become familiar with its layout.

"We are good listeners and we start out by listening to people," she said.

She said the firm is gathering considerable data about the site, from soil composition to zoning regulations and from historical lore to needs of staff.

Seredin said a forum will be held in the coming weeks to gather public input.

The four to six staffers tasked with formulating the master plan will analyze the compiled information and formulate from one to three designs.

Seredin said the designs will be presented to the college's Strategic Planning Committee for feedback and direction before a master design is refined.

The layout will take into account the college's immediate needs, as well as a snapshots of its five-year and long-range plans.

"It's a really exciting project and a wonderful piece of property," she said. "I have confidence in a great outcome."

Beth Staples -- 861-9252


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