Colby College's new downtown Waterville dorm opening for the semester

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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) The final touches are being put on Colby College's new downtown Waterville dorm before it opens for the semester.

"This building - believe it or not - represents the first major new construction project opening on Main Street in Downtown Waterville in more than half a century," says Brian Clark, Vice President of Planning for Colby College.

It's been years in the making... and with the help of local businesses.

"About 14 and a half million dollars of that construction budget was spent on local contractors and sub-contractors, including Fortin's across the river and American Glass here in Waterville," says Clark. "Having a commitment to local businesses, to local laborers, has been really important to us from the very beginning on this project."

They say the economic impact will only continue.

"The opportunity with this building specifically, is that it brings new retailers on to Main Street," says Clark. "It brings in new businesses. It brings in a broadened tax base, and it brings in new jobs."

Karlene Burrell-McRae is the Dean of the College.

"I think equally the economic piece of it, I think being able to be down here, it's about the engagement with people," says Burrell-McRae. "I think that's the other special part of this opportunity is being able to know our neighbors, being able to talk with our neighbors."

That's one of the reasons students in this dorm will all participate in civic engagement roles in the community through various businesses, non-profits, and more.

Another addition to the community will be the Chase Community Forum.

"The Chase Community Forum is a multi-purpose space that's available to civic organizations, to non-profits to meet and to use free of charge to host meetings, to host events, and to host lectures," says Clark.

"I think when this was being created, that was always at the center - being able to provide a space, and giving back to the community," says Burrell-McRae.

All of the new residents will be moved in by Labor Day.