BAR HARBOR, Maine — College of the Atlantic has opened up a new student residence village that was designed to help the college reduce its energy costs.
The new Davis Residence Village consists of three new duplex-type buildings built in close proximity to the college’s Sea Fox student house. Each new building has insulated walls about 1 foot thick, composting toilets, and “gray” water systems to minimize septic waste. The three buildings will house a total of 51 students, have in-floor, radiant heat, and will be heated by a single wood-pellet boiler in a nearby utility shed.
The new village, which includes Sea Fox and the renovated Sea Urchins building, is named after Katherine W. Davis, a philanthropist and summer resident of Mount Desert Island. Davis, along with her family-run Shelby Cullom David Foundation, has given several million dollars to COA, The Jackson Laboratory, MDI Bio Lab and other nonprofit organizations on MDI.
“For me the best part of today is that it brings together a bouquet with most of ‘my loves,’” Davis, who is 101 years old, said in a prepared statement. “My family, my beloved Mount Desert Island, education, students — including international students — and an environmentally friendly project at one of the most environmentally friendly colleges in the world.”
The housing project is the latest example of environmental stewardship at the college, which recently was named among the top five schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report for its small classes and international student body. The school also has been recognized as the first higher-learning institution in the nation, and perhaps the world, to become carbon-neutral.
About 150 people attended the buildings’ ceremonial opening, which was held Aug. 21.