B&G uses phased approach in renovating dorms and co-ops

As the lucky students who live this year in West or Wood can attest, a newly-renovated dorm can make all the difference to a Williams student’s quality of life and sense of well-being. Every summer, the college makes a number of improvements to the buildings that need it most.

Next year, inhabitants of co-ops Lambert and Milham will enjoy the privilege of a freshly remodeled living space. The college plans to generally renovate both houses over the coming summer.

“Living in a co-op is the best of both worlds – you get to live in your own house, but the college still pays for and takes care of the repairs needed,” said Jen Page ’00, who recently picked into Milham. “Some of the co-ops are pretty run down now, and I’m very psyched the college will be renovating.”

Colby Hunter-Thomson ’99, who lives in Lambert this year, said the house needs some adjustments, such as new shower fixtures and refurbished staircases. The house has been inspected several times, she said, but added, “It is kind of funny . . . they never seem to write anything down and won’t tell us what is being changed.”

Many dorms will undergo less extensive improvements. Juniors and seniors will recall that some common areas of Mission Park have been enhanced over the past couple of years. This “phased approach,” said Director of Housing Tom McEvoy, will continue this summer, when a kitchen is built in the Mills recreation room adjacent to the dining hall. It is hoped that new lighting, flooring, and furniture will be installed in the main floor lounge in Mission, located near its southern entrance, to make that space more appealing.

Work scheduled for Brooks House will help the college meet regulations regarding handicapped accessibility. By a master plan developed in cooperation with the state of Massachusetts, McEvoy explained, campus houses are assigned to several categories. Five percent of the rooms in each category must eventually be made accessible. “Brooks, in the row house category, is one of the targeted dorms,” he said.

Brooks will be fitted for accessibility in its bathrooms and kitchen, and an elevator will be built on the side of the building that faces Spencer. The house will also receive interior improvements, including new carpeting in its common areas.

Several campus dorms are in need of painting jobs. McEvoy said the College hopes to paint many of the rooms in Tyler House. Exterior painting will be done on West and Dodd. Additional exterior touch-up jobs are scheduled for Garfield and Mission Park.

Most renovation and repair jobs are recommended by Williamstown building inspector Mike Card. “If there are issues he brings up, we address those,” McEvoy said. “Since 1987, I think we’ve taken care of our sorest problems. West was the last holdout of these.”

The biggest upcoming project, he added, is not scheduled to begin until the summer of 2000: a thorough renovation of the Greylock Quad. Two buildings will be completed in the summer of 2000, while the other two will wait until the following year. Understandably, the college foresees this work as a major project that will require considerable planning and input. Accordingly, although work will not begin for more than a year, thought is already being given to the undertaking. A planning committee will soon be formed to consider and direct the objectives of the Greylock renovation. As the committee will include three or four students, those interested or inspired should contact McEvoy.