Colby College students are ditching their dorms, and moving to downtown Waterville, Maine.
Two hundred students are now living in the new Alfond Main Street Commons, a $25 million dollar project on Main Street.
It's part of Colby's commitment to invest in the city's downtown and revitalize the city.
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"Having 200 students and faculty members living here... will enrich the city in all kinds of ways," said Colby President David Greene at a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday.
All of the students will be required to fulfill civic engagement projects, getting them off campus and involved in the community.
"There's a bigger sense of independence," said Colby senior Hannah Springhorn, who just moved into the commons. "This is definitely much nicer than any dorm I could have lived in on campus."
To date, Colby College has invested around $65 million in downtown projects. The college is planning to build a hotel and downtown arts center on Main Street. Greene says other investors are coming to Waterville, too.
"Over the last few years, we have seen 20 properties on Main Street alone sold," said Greene. "Dozens have been re-invested in over that time. We've seen hundreds of jobs come to Waterville, property values rising. We start to see buildings that have long been a blight to the city become once again productive spaces for people to work."
Like many towns in Maine, Waterville has suffered since its mills slowed and eventually shut down. Some longtime residents have hope that the city is turning things around — no longer powered by mills, but boosted by millennials.
"Having this incredible place, this home for Colby students, will forge that relationship and take it to the next level," said Kate O'Halloran, a consultant whose family has lived in Waterville for generations. "It gives the town a sense of optimism."