Polshek to solicit feedback from students on new Baxter plans

Students will have an opportunity to comment upon and view schematic designs for the new Baxter at a meeting this Thursday or Friday with Polshek Partnership Architects, the firm in charge of designing the new building.

According to Dean Roseman the meeting is intended to give students a chance to see what progress has been made on the plans of the building and also to allow students to provide additional input to the architects.

Roseman said that Polshek is focusing its efforts on the social space in the basement of the new Baxter, which will include a multi-purpose room, social lounge, pub and space for WCFM.

Now that the architects have formulated some ideas about the spaces, it is time for students’ reactions. The Board of Trustees was shown detailed external modelsat their meeting this past weekend, but students have not yet seen the plans.

“We have put considerable energy into thinking about that space and how it works and it is time now for students to weigh in,” Roseman said.

“The design process is an interesting one, with the architects showing us different versions of the layout and us trying to figure out what is best. We are at a key juncture in the design, so it is a perfect time for student input.” The last open student forum was held last October. The meeting provided much of the basis for Polshek’s subsequent designs for the building.

Roseman has also organized meetings with WCFM, MinCo, the Record and other student groups. In addition, Polshek has a web page (wso.Williams.edu/polshek) dedicated to comments and suggestions for the new building.

Recently, Bob Volpi, director of Dining Services, has been involved in discussions about the dining operations in the building.

“Because of how the design process works, there are particular moments where input from different parties makes sense,” Roseman said.

MinCo, All Campus Entertainment and College Council will all have office space in the new student center, which will help centralize some of the campus’ most important organizations.

Roseman also dismissed any concern that the meeting may be too late for students to make an impact in the design process. “The schematic design work is an on-going process, so we aren’t near a finished design yet,” Roseman said. “We have a ways to go, so I disagree with [the] assessment that this is very late in the process for student input.”

Polshek also met with the Board of Trustees over the weekend to update them on the newest ideas for Baxter. If all goes as planned, a final design for the building should be ready for the trustees’ approval by the end of the school year.

At the forum, students will likely view a PowerPoint presentation of Polshek’s ideas and designs, in addition to any other material the architects have. The materials and final physical design of the building have not yet been decided, so there are no three-dimensional structures for students to view.