This year Mission Park has already accrued a more costly tab for damages done to the building than last year’s total. The smearing of paint in the Dennett gallery in early September accounts for most of the cost, but Director of Housing Tom MacEvoy says there have been many smaller damages in the last few months.
The paint incident occurred before the start of the academic year. “That was a disaster. There was paint smeared everywhere,” Steve Alcombright, Dennett’s custodian, said. After an unsuccessful investigation, there was a discussion about who to charge for the damages. MacEvoy said it was decided that the house should be held responsible for damage done to it. Buildings & Grounds charged Dennett House for damages which amounted to $3352.
There was a temporary respite from damages to Mission between early September and January of this year. However, starting with a broken window frame in the stairwell of Armstrong, there have been seven recorded instances of damage done to Mission since January.
The total cost of damages to date is $3906, significantly larger than last year’s $2707, but not yet as large as the $4703 charged for the 1995-96 academic year. Alcombright said, “This year hasn’t been that bad. I haven’t noticed more damage than usual in Dennett.”
Nick Daft ’00, one of the Dennett Co-House Presidents said Tom MacEvoy has not sent out any messages to the house presidents about the recent damages.
Most of the damages done this year have been small, but more recent damages, such as a broken light fixture and broken door glass, range between $100-$200. The most recent incident involves three pieces of missing furniture belonging to the common gallery area. A coffee table, chair, and circular table were missing from this area earlier this month and have not yet been retrieved.
According to MacEvoy, an informal investigation into the matter is currently underway. The replacement costs, he said, will be about $600. Because the damage done was to a common area, the cost will be divided between the four houses of Mission, according to the damage policy.
The missing pieces of furniture are part of the first phase of a renovation plan that is targeting the architecture of Mission Hall. The plans to renovate Mission came after a series of meetings last March involving the planning committee for Mission. The committee is comprised of Assistant Dean Wanda Lee, MacEvoy, a number of Williams students, and Amy Reichert, the designer of the renovations.
“We spent a lot of time discussing problems with Mission, and cool but impractical ideas like aquariums and snack bars,” Emily Gilmar ’00 said, a member of the planning committee. She explained that the committee toured through Mission and discussed ways to improve on the architecture.
“People have really strong feelings about Mission, most of them pretty negative.” According to Reichert’s explanation, Gilmar said, the gallery functions like an enclosed village street and the bikes add to this sense.
“My personal sense is that the Mission village is a little heavy on Laundromats,” Gilmar said. “I guess the most notable thing about the whole exercise was the way we started out with grand ideas, whittled them down to practical ones, and then only realized some of the planned ideas.”
The first phase of the renovation plan took place in the summer before the current academic year and cost $100,000. Renovations included new furniture for the common area, light fixtures, display cases, and new paint on the walls. “The idea was to get people out of their suites,” MacEvoy said.
The next two phases are to take place over the next two summers. The second phase is scheduled for this summer and it will target the Dennett Recreation Room as well as the Pratt living room. The third phase is set to take place in the summer of 1999. The plan for this last phase is to add a kitchen to Mills and to repaint the interior of the stair wells.
MacEvoy said the damage to Mission is particularly disturbing after the recent renovations. “It is ironic because one of our attempts was to improve the architecture in hopes that we would curb damage.”