Deering Common

at College of the Atlantic

Bar Harbor, Maine

The College of the Atlantic enjoys a well deserved reputation for quality education, environmentally sustainable policies, and responsible building. When they decided to move ahead with their plan to provide more and higher quality housing for their students, they put together a team of professionals that are comfortable in the arena of cost effective, sustainable, and quality, design and construction. Coldham & Hartman Architects from Amherst, Massachusetts teamed up with the college’s energy and sustainability consultant, Marc Rosenbaum, to produce a set of construction documents for the housing cluster that met and exceeded all expectations, both on campus, and throughout the academic community in the world. Similarly, for the renovation and reuse of the Deering Common building, they chose Stewart Brecher Architects from Bar Harbor to provide a design that honored the architecture of the existing former grand “summer cottage” located adjacent to the new student housing project, while providing an exceptionally weather tight and energy efficient structure to house a student social space and related offices on the second and third floors. The views of the harbor are stunning, and the building performs as a state of the art, energy miserly, sustainably designed building should perform, unlike the majority of buildings in this world today.

PML was invited to these two great teams along with E. L. Shea, Inc, general contractor and construction managers. Together the team accomplished a housing project on time, under budget, setting levels of energy efficiency and sustainability unsurpassed in the academic marketplace, and presenting to the College of the Atlantic community a beautiful addition to their already esteemed campus.

The Deering Common project brought a unique challenge to PML and the team. In order to meet the schedule of opening that the college and their donors hoped for, PML recommended that the Builder’s contract resemble the flexibility of a design/build delivery system even though the architect was already under contract with the school, and E.L. Shea was to hold an independent contract; a typical CM contract for construction only. Due in large part to the cooperative spirit of Brecher Architects, the honest transparency of Shea, and the willingness on the part of the college to entertain a hybrid delivery process fostered and managed by PML, the team moved ahead, meeting schedules, and delivering a fine facility that all team members and the college community are proud of and thrilled to use to it’s fullest.