The keystone of the Broad Reach campaign is the reimagining of north campus, which includes construction of new buildings - as well as renovation of existing spaces - for teaching, learning, and welcoming the community to campus.

The need is urgent. COA’s last new academic building was constructed in the 1980s when our student body was less than 200. Today, it is 350. Classrooms, labs, lecture halls, and seminar rooms are jammed as we try to fit a few more students into a classroom meant to hold a few less. Faculty numbers and class offerings have grown, along with the student body, so the number of rooms needed to teach has skyrocketed, creating longer days for students and faculty alike, as classes are scheduled later in the evening, sometimes even on weekends, just to fit them in. There is simply not enough space on campus.

Center for Human Ecology

Gathering places for the COA and MDI communities are inadequate as well. COA’s reputation as the Island’s intellectual and cultural center has grown, and summer lectures, gallery openings, conferences, and the Champlain Institute  are often oversubscribed for the available spaces. 

The Center for Human Ecology is the first of a constellation of six interconnected projects which will transform the north end of campus.  The new building overlooking Frenchman Bay will house a mix of classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, studios, a new teaching greenhouse, and multi-use spaces. This building will become the academic center of campus and the heart of College of the Atlantic life.  

President Darron Collins gives tour of the Center for Human Ecology building progress as of spring 2020.

Designed in collaboration with architect Susan Rodriguez and Maine-based OPAL (formerly GO Logic), The Center for Human Ecology will be one of the most distinctive buildings on Mount Desert Island.  Construction of the Center will follow the German Passive House standard for energy performance, representing an 80% reduction in energy use versus comparable code-compliant construction, and all windows will feature innovative bird-friendly glazing to mitigate bird collisions. 

In addition to the Center for Human Ecology, the reimagining of north campus includes expansion of Gates Auditorium to include an experimental theatre, renovation of the existing Arts & Sciences building, and construction of a new Welcome Center, which will house the Admissions office and a new gallery.

$22M represents all costs associated with all new constructions, renovations of existing spaces, a $1M maintenance fund, and a $1M operating fund. Learn more.

Click here to support the reimagining of North Campus

Center for Human Ecology

Center for Human Ecology