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Another major groundbreaking at Champlain College The new buildings at Champlain College just keep coming. Next up will be a $24.5 million Center for Communications and Creative Media, off Maple Street. It will rise out of what's now a parking lot to adjoin the Hauke Family Center and Alumni Auditorium and will become the new gateway to the main campus. No one at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon called this an "in fill" project. The going adjectives were "innovative" and "creative," words that Champlain's boosters like to use to describe this ambitious private college's blend of academic and professional education. But those words also seemed apt for this new spatial reconfiguration. How many colleges, after all, would turn a parking lot into a gateway? The 75,000 square foot addition will not only be home to the Division of Communications and Creative Media, which offers undergraduate programs in video game art, animation and design, filmmaking, broadcasting and graphic design, among other fields. It will also offer space for the campus mailroom, a transit center and dining facilities to accommodate several hundred more students who will be moving into campus housing. The college's housing stock is under expansion just a block away, as work on two more residence halls nears completion in time for the fall semester. They will fill out Champlain's Res Tri project on a 4.7 acre site between South Willard Street and the Edmunds School property. This new college complex will include five dorms, housing hundreds of students, that didn't exist a decade ago. The college's master plan, adopted in 2007, calls for Champlain to house 90 percent of the undergraduate enrollment, which is capped at 2,000. Another project in furtherance of that plan is gearing up a few blocks farther west, off St. Paul Street, where the college hopes to build a student apartment complex on a block once occupied by the Eagles Club. Those plans are undergoing city review. Champlain also acquired another private club, the Ethan Allen Club on College Street, with an eye toward building student housing there, too. That project remains on hold. Yet another of the college's showpiece additions, which had its own celebretory groundbreaking a few years ago, is Perry Hall on South Willard a restored mansion with a modern addition that became the Welcome Center. Perry Hall, the Res Tri and the new media center will all be tied into a geothermal heating cooling system, thanks to a prolific subterranean hot water source. In a nod to consistency, the college retained architect Colin Lindberg to design the new center. Lindbergh also designed the adjacent buildings, built in 1989. Major gifts for the center came from Sodexo, the college's food service contractor, which donated $2 million, and from the Stiller Family Foundation, which funded a new Champlain business school in Robert P. Stiller's name. Champlain President David Finney, who presided over the groundbreaking, called the project "transformational." "Individuals from all over the world will enter and be transformed and in return will leave through those same doors and transform the world," he said "The new building will dramatically enhance our ability to attract top students and faculty to Champlain," said Paula Willoquet Maricondi, dean of the division. She said the building, to feature state of the art labs and an art gallery, will foster creativity and imagination. One of Champlain College's more creative institutional moves, 12 years ago, was to eliminate intercollegiate athletics in favor of intramural sports. The college still has a mascot, though: Chauncey the beaver.