WATERVILLE — The Hains Building in downtown Waterville welcomed its first residents in recent memory as Colby College staffers began moving in Friday.

Around a dozen staffers from the Colby College Museum and Department of College Advancement will have offices in the building on 173 Main St., with shuttle service available to the main campus. Those employees will likely park on campus and take shuttles to their new offices, said Colby’s director of communications, Kate Carlisle.

“As our teams have expanded up here, some of our groups have outgrown their space and we thought, well, we happen to have some space a little bit downtown,” Carlisle said in an interview Friday. “It’s awfully fitting, in my mind anyway, that Colby’s staff are moving back downtown.”

Founded in 1813, Colby College was originally housed in downtown Waterville but moved to Mayflower Hill starting in the early 1940s in a bid to further extend the campus. Eager to keep the college in Waterville, a citizens committee set about finding the Mayflower Hill location and raising $107,270 from more than 600 donors towards its purchase, according to the school’s website. Construction at the new location began six years later, in 1937.

The new rear entrance to the Hains Building now housing Colby College staff in downtown Waterville. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans/Staff Photographer

Colby purchased the Hains Building in 2015 for $220,000 in a deal hailed by local observers. The sale came shortly after the college purchased the Levine building, at 9 Main St., for $200,000. Supporters of the move believed it could prove a boon for downtown Waterville and a rare source of relief for the city’s shrinking tax base. The building has remained on the city’s tax rolls despite Colby’s nonprofit status.

“This is really exciting because Colby has stepped up to say, ‘We’re your partners,’ ” said Mayor Nick Isgro shortly after the purchase was announced. “When you have people like (Colby president) David Greene willing to put his hand out and say, ‘We’re here – we’re all tied in this together,’ great things happen.”

The college is planning to officially mark the opening of its new space in a ribbon-cutting ceremony next month, Carlisle said. The date for that ceremony has not yet been set.

Kate McCormick can be contacted at 861-9218 or at:

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