BAR HARBOR — A groundbreaking ceremony for College of the Atlantic’s new 29,000-square-foot Center for Human Ecology is planned for Saturday, May 25 at 2 p.m. in the Gates Community Center.
The $13 million facility will comprise science laboratories, flexible lecture halls, faculty offices, art and design studios, and a teaching greenhouse within a bright, high-energy-performance environment. E.L. Shea, Builders and Engineers of Ellsworth will lead construction, which is expected to last until September 2020.
“College of the Atlantic has pioneered an experiential model of higher education where research, mentoring, socializing, and experimentation come together to create new knowledge, new ideas, and new works, both for our island and for the world at large,” said Darron Collins, the college’s president.
“The Center for Human Ecology will embrace this model, and will embody our interdisciplinary mission, gathering sciences, arts, and humanities under the same roof to inspiring results.”
The project, including an endowed maintenance budget, is financed entirely through philanthropy, with lead gifts from Trustees of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, led by Andrew Davis, and Trustees of College of the Atlantic. The Center will be constructed on the school’s North lawn, where it will create sweeping views of Frenchman Bay and a new outdoor courtyard.
Construction will follow the German Passive House standard for energy performance, representing an 80 percent reduction in energy use versus comparable code-compliant construction. The Center will be the largest project of this type designed according to Passive House principals in a far northern climate.