Bowdoin College held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the future John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies.

“This new building … is going to be a world-class and beautiful home for our museum and the centerpiece of the work that we do intellectually at the college around Arctic Studies,” said Bowdoin President Clayton Rose.

The new 16,426-square-foot facility is expected to be complete in November 2022.

The project will also include the new Barry Mills Hall, named after the immediate-past president of the college.

The two buildings will provide space for academic facilities and events.

The arctic center will be the new home of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, named after Arctic explorers and Bowdoin graduates Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan. The museum is now located at Hubbard Hall, near the center of campus. It is closed to the public.

The buildings will be located near the corner of College Street and Sills Drive in Brunswick.

Combined, the two facilities are priced at $36.5 million.

In March, Bowdoin’s Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Matt Orlando told The Times Record that the new buildings will be environmentally friendly, electric-powered “mass timber buildings,” meaning the superstructure will be made of wood as opposed to steel or concrete.

“As far as I know, they’re the first of its kind of this scale in the state of Maine,” Orlando said.

Construction will involve the removal of 68 trees, with plans to plant 85 new trees once the project is complete.

According to Orlando, the new trees, which will be made up of a variety of species, will be more resilient to the changing climate.

The building is named after Bowdoin College trustee emeritus John Gibbons and Lile Gibbons, who, according to Bowdoin’s website, made a significant contribution to the project.

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