In a first step toward building a maritime college in Scituate, officials opened the bidding for the purchase of town land on the Driftway.
At the request of the board of selectmen, Scituate Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi released a request for proposals for development of an “Environmental and Maritime Studies Campus.” The 111,000-square-foot lot is located between the capped landfill and Widow’s Walk Golf Course.
“We’re hoping to get a good response,” Scituate Selectman Richard Murray said.
Proposals are due by Dec. 30, and the winning bid will go before a town meeting vote in the spring.
The idea of opening a community college in Scituate was hatched about four years ago by the nonprofit group Marine & Environmental Education Alliance. Its proposal for an Ocean Campus Center includes a 30,000-square-foot facility that would serve up to 1,500 students per week in marine engine repair, marine biology studies, environmental sciences and fisheries, among other associate-level and certificate programs.
The group’s proposal has garnered support from local, state and federal officials, including U.S. Sen. John Kerry and U.S. Rep. William Keating.
Although the nonprofit group, in affiliation with Massasoit Community College, has expressed the most interest, the bidding process is open to all groups who are interested in bringing jobs and a top-notch educational experience to Scituate, Murray said.
The bid package includes provisions that protect the town’s interests in areas such as zoning, environmental impact and project length. The town has the right to back out of any agreement within the first 18 months.
“We don’t want a group to come in and say, ‘We’ll get this up and running in 15 years,’” Murray said. “We want real progress on this thing in a four- or five-year timeline.”