A clear and compelling philosophy of residential life that is deeply connected to the academic program is an essential component of the Colby experience. The Johnson Pond Houses are the first phase of a larger plan for residence life that integrates an intentional residence life program with new, purpose-built residence halls and systematic renovations of existing residences. Two houses will be open for the start of the fall 2022 semester, with the third opening in October, and the fourth opening at the start of the spring semester. Each house will be home to 50 students, including two community advisors, and a faculty or staff member in residence, providing new opportunities for community programming at a residential scale.
Each Johnson Pond House will house 50 students within the following room configuration:
24 double rooms for a total of 48 residents
2 Community Advisor single rooms
How does this project advance Colby’s mission?
The Colby experience is designed to enable each student to find and fulfill their own unique potential. Studies have shown that living in on-campus housing facilitates an equitable learning environment, supports intellectual culture, encourages student involvement, promotes student development, and increases the odds of student success. Colby is committed to ensuring all students have access to these opportunities regardless of financial ability and these construction projects will enable the College to fulfill that commitment.
What are the Johnson Pond Houses?
‘Johnson Pond Houses’ refers to four residential buildings that will house a total of 200 students located west of the East and West Quads along Johnson Pond.
Why are there four smaller houses instead of one large building?
The scale and size of the buildings are designed to promote community building. Each residence will house 50 students, allowing for increased and natural interactions among residents that build longer-lasting and more meaningful relationships. Student rooms are double-occupancy, which facilitates social and emotional growth while maintaining comfort and space.
How will this project strengthen the student experience?
These residences will provide first-year and sophomore students with socially dynamic and culturally rich living environments that encourage casual interactions and promote relationship building. The location, deliberately selected because of its connection with surrounding residence halls, will strengthen the broader residential and campus experience at the core of campus.
How has input from the Colby community been incorporated into the project?
A steering committee consisting of Colby students, faculty, and staff was created early in the process to help inform and guide the project’s direction. The Board of Trustees also provided detailed feedback throughout.
What spaces are included in each building?
Each residence hall includes double-occupancy rooms for students, single-occupancy rooms for CAs, and an apartment for faculty- or staff-in-residence. All bathrooms are single-occupancy, universally accessible, and gender-neutral with full showers, sinks, and toilets. All four houses incorporate covered entry porches, lounges overlooking the pond, and basements for student storage.
What will the buildings look like?
The exterior designs reflect simplicity and approachability with Maine-inspired elements such as gabled roofs, covered porches, and wood panel exteriors.
How does the design of the buildings enhance the campus?
The siting of these buildings, nestled along Johnson Pond, encourages innovative and sustainable design that creates a deeper connection to the natural environment. The design inspiration is drawn from simple New England architecture prevalent throughout Maine, with gabled roofs, natural wood siding, generously-sized operable windows to provide natural light and fresh air, open and enclosed porches, and native plantings.
How do these buildings incorporate accessibility?
All four residences are universally accessible, including all bathrooms, student rooms, and lounges. All residents will enter their residence hall through the covered entry porch, which is accessible to all via the new pedestrian pathways. Each building has an elevator. The pathway connecting the buildings is also graded to allow universal access.
How do these projects incorporate sustainability?
Colby’s longstanding commitment to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living principles guided every aspect of the design process, from site orientation to materials, construction, building systems and landscape.
What are some environmentally responsive features of the design?
The building envelopes (walls, roofs, and windows) are high-performance or highly insulated to reduce heat transfer in either direction and maintain a comfortable living environment, while decreasing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool. The outer surface material is thermally modified timber—a durable and dimensionally stable material that provides a natural and refined aesthetic without the use of harsh chemicals. In addition to allowing ample natural light, the large triple-glazed windows provide additional insulation for greater comfort, energy conservation, and reduced sound transmission. Highly efficient building systems will also optimize comfort and energy performance in all four residence halls. Locally sourced materials and construction on this project reduce transportation costs and leverage regional labor.
What is the landscape plan?
The landscape strategy for these buildings highlights Johnson Pond’s natural beauty, replacing lawn with native meadow plantings and additional trees to enhance the biodiversity in the area around the pond. The houses will be connected to each other and the campus through a new pedestrian walkway similar to the new Runnals and Bixler Walks. Students and the campus community will continue to have access to Johnson Pond and the slope overlooking the pond.
What will happen to the existing trees?
Several trees on the site are in poor health or damaged. Some have browntail moth infestation and need to be removed to protect surrounding vegetation, while others will need to be cleared from the site to construct the new buildings. The landscape plan replaces these and adds more native trees and plantings that are designed for shade, absorbing storm runoff, and are better suited for the soil and light conditions on the site. The commemorative trees and plantings currently on the site will be relocated and integrated into the new landscape plan in locations that have similar characteristics and visibility.
What is the construction timeline?
Construction mobilization will begin on February 8, 2022. The College anticipates two buildings will be ready for student occupancy by the end of August, the third in mid-October or before, and the fourth to be available for a January move-in. All four residence halls and 200 student beds will be available for spring semester 2023 occupancy.
What is the typical construction schedule?
Construction crews will be working from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How will construction impact those living and working on campus?
Members of the community should expect construction-related noise and parking changes over the course of the spring semester. Project updates will be communicated via ColbyNow, open meetings, and direct email messages. People living and working in areas that will be specifically affected will also receive direct communication.
What security measures will be in place?
The construction area will be fully fenced in with gates for controlled access for contractors, Campus Security and Facilities Operations staff, as well as deliveries to Miller Library. There will be security cameras and other protocols to ensure safety on and around the site. The fences along the west side of East and West Quads will be 12 feet away from the buildings to allow ventilation, and the fence height will maintain student privacy.