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The Stevens Square Community Center Comes to Life

Stevens Square Community Center

The exciting new Stevens Square Community Center is underway in time for the holidays and a Happy New Year. Housed in the 50,000 square foot former Maine Girls’ Academy (previously Catherine McAuley High School), it’s a cornerstone of the Stevens Square campus. Read on below to learn all about it.

Stevens Square Community Center
A portion of the Stevens Square Community Center looking from the west

Just Steps Away

As it is developed, it will add fitness, health and wellness, entertainment, dining, educational, social, and other lifestyle opportunities for Stevens Square at Baxter Woods 55+ homeowners, just steps from their homes. It will also act as a connecting point to the surrounding Deering Center neighborhood.

Stevens Square at Baxter Woods Community Center
2 minute walk across campus

Stevens Square Community Center Lifestyle Amenities

Fitness Center and Pool

A former music room, lobby, and existing swimming pool will be transformed into a fitness center including new cardio and weight rooms and lounge areas.

This complex will also host wellness-centered businesses providing services like personal training, yoga, and massage. A partnership is planned with an established business called Health Coaches Inc. that offers “comprehensive personalized health and wellness programs” designed to “preserve and optimize your health.”

You can learn more about Health Coaches Inc. by visiting their website.

Auditorium and Educational Opportunities

The 480-seat Stevens Square Community Center Auditorium can host theater groups, local concerts and musical arts, and a wide range of community events.


The University of New England (UNE) is just up the street from Stevens Square. Its Center for Excellence in Aging and Health “invites adults aged 55 and older to join with its students, faculty, and staff in shared scholarship and service” as part of their Legacy Scholars Program.

It recently partnered with Greater Portland Landmarks for a presentation in the Auditorium about the history of Deering Center and The Motherhouse, the historic centerpiece of the Stevens Square Campus.

Read more about UNE’s Legacy Scholars Program here.

While they will live in a modern Stevens Square at Baxter Woods condominium, Elizabeth and Larry Estey have a keen interest in a lifestyle enhanced by The Motherhouse and the Stevens Square Community Center Auditorium.  Elizabeth is a historic archivist by trade and Larry envisions starting a resident community theater group.

Read and watch more about The Motherhouse and the Esteys here.

A New Stevens Square Community Center Cafe with a Long History

The central point of the Stevens Square Community Center is The Atrium which serves as a lobby and will be seating for a cafe. The proposed concept is that of a modern hotel lobby which can feel private enough but also flow with gradual transitions…a place you feel comfortable eating your breakfast at a lounge soft chair and you feel comfortable working on your laptop at the breakfast area.

The Cafe at Stevens Square Community Center
The Atrium today

As the concept is developed, the plan is to emphasize the indoor-outdoor connection between the lobby/atrium, courtyard, the pool, and an adjacent outdoor terrace with possible fire and water elements.

Here is a rendering of similar conceptual work our landscape architect created in Colorado:

Indoor-outdoor concept drawing

Julie Taliento Walsh has a long history in food service in Portland and at this very venue. She currently runs a cafe and catering business in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood called Tally’s Kitchen. The cafe at the Community Center would be a second location.

Julie Walsh Tally's Stevens Square
Julie Taliento Walsh with a picture of her father

Julie’s great grandparents moved to Maine from New York City in the early 1900s and her relatives have been in the foodservice business for several generations. Her father owned the former Federal Foods grocery stores in Portland.

Julie and her four sisters attended McAuley High School at this very site and she later owned a cafe in the school called the Lion’s Den. She looks forward to serving her fresh, reasonably priced food in the comfortable community atmosphere while catering events in the Auditorium and for Stevens Square at Baxter Woods Homeowners.

Julie prides herself on sourcing local produce, which might just be easier here with a farmers market on-site!

The Stevens Square Community Center Gymnasium

The Portland Winter Indoor Farmers’ Market takes place in the Stevens Square Community Center Gymnasium every Saturday from December through April.

Stevens Square Farmers' Market Portland
Scenes from Farmers’ Market at Stevens Square Community Center in December

Stevens Square Farmers' Market

Community and Intergenerational Connection

Stevens Square at Baxter Woods is a 55 Plus Active Adult community with a unique sense of community among its homeowners. But it is also a part of the greater community and not apart from it.

The Gymnasium hosts Blue Wave Basketball. Blue Wave organizes year-round programs and teams for boys and girls with the belief that “kids will reach their playing potential when their desire for success is coupled with sound instruction of basic fundamentals in a positive learning environment.”

A great chance to watch some fun games in your community!

The first-floor classrooms on the opposite side of the Atrium from the Health and Wellness Center, Auditorium and Gymnasium will house the well established Growing Learners Child Care.

Just as Stevens Square is creating a sense of community, Growing Learners strives “to create a community amongst our staff and families.” And their logo trees coincidentally resembles ours:

A great place for grandkids!

Blue Wave and Growing Learners offer an infusion of youthful energy. Meanwhile, the Deering Center area surrounding the Stevens Square Campus offers a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. And its just been enhanced with the Stevens Square Community Center moving forward.

A great location to build a community!

Learn more about the Deering Center Neighborhood Association here.

Compatible Businesses in the Classrooms

Above Growing Learners are the second-floor former classrooms. In the future, they will be rented to compatible businesses that could further enhance the Stevens Square Community Center and the Stevens Square at Baxter Woods lifestyle choices.

A Visionary Developer

The Stevens Square Community Center is the brainchild of Stevens Square’s visionary Developer Kevin Bunker, founder and principal of Developers Collaborative. It’s a major component of Kevin’s plan for the entire campus, something that is uncommon to Portland and Maine as a whole: a master-planned 55+ Active Lifestyle community.

Kevin’s ability to restore the empty school building and transform it into mixed-use wellness and activity center depended on approval of a zoning change, first by the Portland Planning Board and then by the City Council.

Stevens Square Community Center Plan
Conceptual rendering of Stevens Square Community Center layout

Kevin’s solid plan for redevelopment fit the city’s vision for smart growth and development. That vision focuses on priority corridors like Stevens Avenue and supports walkable neighborhoods where people can access amenities without getting in a car. It also encourages access to public transportation, like the bus line running by Stevens Square.

His company’s track record of projects that benefit neighborhoods and the city as a whole helped as well. The zoning change gained final City Council approval on December 16.

An Award-winning Developer

Approval of the Stevens Square Community Center came just days after Kevin Bunker received the 2019 Economic Development Achievement Award from the city of Portland. He received this honor on December 11 surrounded by family, associates, and the Mayor.

Economic Development Achievement Award Kevin Bunker
Kevin Bunker’s 2019 Economic Development Achievement Award

Make sure to stay tuned to our website and subscribe to our YouTube page for some upcoming videos about Kevin, his interest in projects that build community, and his track record of adherence to core themes like smart growth, historic preservation, environmental sustainability, and innovative design.

Please contact us with your interest in the Community Center and Stevens Square 55+ Active Adult community at 

Meanwhile, you can read more about Kevin and the Stevens Square Community Center development and approval process in this recent article from the Portland Phoenix:







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