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Updated: June 18, 2021

Thomas College breaks ground on sports center

group with shovels and hard hats at construction site Courtesy / Thomas College Construction of a new state-of the-art athletic facility at Thomas College in Waterville is expected to take about a year. Around 150 people attended Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony.

Shovels went into the ground at Thomas College in Waterville on Thursday to kick off construction of a state-of-the-art athletic facility, as President Laurie Lachance touted the center's broader significance.

“The Thomas athletic experience helps our student athletes and Esports competitors grow and show their hearts,” Lachance said in a news release issued after a ceremony attended by 150 people.

"They do so much more than play — they work hard, compete, lead and respect and include others," she added. "After college, who wants those traits? Employers. Those are lifelong skills that set our graduates on a track for success.”   

Construction is expected to take a year, putting the center on track to open in August 2022. It will be an 18,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Bernatchez and Smith fields.

It will be funded in part by a recent campaign that raised a record $30 million, which will also be used for scholarships, academic and student support programs and partnerships, and annual investments in the student experience. The campaign gained momentum from a $13.5 million Harold Alfond Foundation gift.

The building, designed by Portland-based SMRT Architects and Engineers, will be built by Sheridan Construction Corp., a commercial contractor based in Fairfield, with support from E.L. Vining  & Son Inc. of Farmington.

Thomas College Athletic Director Chris Parsons said, “This facility and our athletic program is all about community. Adding it will help meet a longstanding need at Thomas to centralize our athletic program and celebrate the role that athletics plays in our community. For many years, we have had coaches and athletic support systems located in various areas around campus because we lacked the space to come together."

"By pulling all our elements into one facility," he noted, "we are really celebrating Thomas athletics and helping to build a better profile for all the program does." 

Rendering of planned athletic facility at Thomas College
Rendering Courtesy / Thomas College
The new sports center will be an 18,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Bernatchez and Smith fields.

Thomas College previously said the facility will serve as a hub and home for its athletics program and include strength and conditioning and athletic training space, locker rooms, coaches' offices, as well as an e-sports arena and viewing area.

The new structure will also mean that the school's existing Harold Alfond Athletic Center can be better used by the entire campus community.

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