Bowdoin seeking $10.3M in stimulus funding
Wish list includes two joint projects with town
BRUNSWICK — Bowdoin College is hoping to attract $10.3 million of the $162 million the state is slated to receive from the recently enacted federal stimulus bill.
Bowdoin's wish list of "shovel-ready" construction projects includes two joint ventures with the town: replacement of a storm water drain at the intersection of College Street and Park Row; and improvements to the Bath Road-Maine Street intersection.
The total cost of the storm water replacement is projected at $1.2 million, of which Bowdoin has pledged $400,000. The town is expected to pay the rest.
The Bath Road-Maine Street intersection project is estimated at $700,000. The Maine Department of Transportation is paying for half of that project, while Bowdoin and the town are expected split the other half, or $175,000 apiece.
Bowdoin submitted its list of stimulus hopefuls in a Jan. 20 letter to Gov. John Baldacci's chief policy advisor Lance Boucher.
Interim Town Manager Gary Brown confirmed Wednesday that the town also inquired about stimulus funding for the two projects. Brown said it was still unclear how the state planned to distribute such funds to towns, but he was hopeful MDOT's participation in the Bath Road-Maine Street project would warrant consideration.
The Bath Road-Maine Street project is not on the MDOT's list of approved stimulus projects (maine.gov/mdot). However, David Farmer, Gov. John Baldacci's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday that the project could receive funding from a transportation bond the state was expected to announce late Wednesday.
Farmer would not say how much the bond was worth, only that it was "millions" of dollars.
The Park Row project does not qualify for stimulus transportation funding. However, it could be included in a list of water quality projects.
Katy Longley, Bowdoin's senior vice president for finance and administration, on Tuesday said Bowdoin had yet to hear if any of its projects would be considered, adding that the college submitted the list nearly a month before the stimulus bill was enacted. Since then, she said, the emphasis of the legislation is more for public infrastructure projects like road paving.
"Right now it appears more likely that public infrastructure projects will come before a private institution," she said.
Farmer said private institutions like Bowdoin are not funded through the bill's education formula. However, Bowdoin's stimulus requests could still compete with other private schools and organizations.
Bowdoin's two projects with the town are among the least costly in its list. The college submitted construction projects exceeding $6.7 million, including a $3.6 million effort to replace aged steam lines and $2.5 million to replace an old boiler with a new central heating plant.
Bowdoin also submitted over $3.6 million in so-called green initiatives. Topping the college's priorities is the replacement of 384 windows in the 16-floor Coles Tower residence hall, a project totalling $1.5 million. The second most costly project – and the lowest on the wish list – is an $800,000 proposal to install solar panels on the roof of Farley Field House.
Bowdoin estimates the panels would generate 128,000 kilowatts of electricity.
Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org