BANGOR, Maine — A new apartment complex being built near Husson University is named after a pioneer of Maine women’s basketball who played, taught and coached at the school.
Clara Swan, who celebrated her 103rd birthday at the university in April, took part Thursday in the ceremonial groundbreaking at 521 Kenduskeag Ave., the future home of Swan Village.
The townhouse apartment complex will feature four buildings, each with four four-bedroom units. Future construction phases will add more buildings to the 3.4 acre site, according to Emily Ellis, the real-estate broker behind the project.
Ellis was a basketball standout in her own right. She played for the University of Maine in the early 1980s. She was a Maine Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 2012.
Swan made her entrance into the Husson Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. A Brewer High School graduate in 1930, Swan went on to attend what was then the Maine School of Commerce.
At the commerce school, she participated in all sports that were open to women at the time, but basketball was a specialty. She went on to teach for five years in Mexico and Dover-Foxcroft, then earned a bachelor’s degree from the American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Maine.
She returned to Bangor to teach business and coach women’s basketball at Husson for 19 years. She compiled a 241-34 record in her nearly two decades leading the team.
Designed into the wing of the swan-shaped “S” in the Swan Village logo is a basketball, paying homage to that history.
“It makes me feel great, very honored,” Swan said Thursday at the ceremony, during which she used a shovel to break ground. “It means a lot. I never expected anything like this.”
Ellis said when she approached Swan to ask permission to name the apartment development after her, Swan “looked like a kid that just robbed a candy store.”
Ellis said she started this project because she saw a need in the area for new housing.
She said the apartments are open to anyone, and she’s not gearing them toward college students in particular, though their proximity to the Husson campus likely will make it an attractive spot for students.
The first units are scheduled to become available in early September.
For more information, visit EmilyEllisTeam.com.
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