The College has announced plans to build a new multi-purpose building with commercial, residential and office space on the site of the old B&L service station at the end of Spring Street. The three-story building, which will have a 5,000 square-foot footprint and will be 15,000 square feet total, will provide additional offices and residential units for the College’s faculty and staff while also creating a commercial anchor at the bottom of Spring St., said Helen Ouellette, vice president for administration and treasurer.
The building will also have public bathrooms and an information area for visitors to pick up maps of the town and find out more about Williamstown. “There will be information about the town, maps, brochures, an ATM machine and, we are hoping, an internet kiosk,” Ouellette said. In addition, “a lot of merchants are pleased there will finally be public restrooms,” she said.
Assuming that the building’s design is approved by the town, demolition of the service station could begin in the early spring, with the new building scheduled for completion by March, 2004, give or take a few months, Ouellette said. The estimated cost of the building is $3.7 million, including all design fees.
Burr & McCallum, the architectural firm designing the building, had a tentative plan for the building drawn earlier this year. However, both cost considerations and the College’s changing priorities sent the architects back to the drawing board. Now, instead of a strictly commercial and residential space, the building will have two merchants on the first floor in addition to the information area, 17 faculty and staff offices on the second floor and four faculty and staff apartments on the third floor. The second floor space will also include a conference room and lounge.
Ouellette said the switch to office space was necessary to accommodate an expanding faculty and a general lack of office space at the College. She said the College has not decided exactly who will be located in the offices yet. “We’re talking about a couple of models,” Ouellette said. “One possibility is it could serve faculty who are on sabbatical doing research. . .All we know is we don’t have enough offices,” she said.
Besides offering additional living and office spaces, the new building will also provide an anchor for the end of Spring St.. “Where’d You Get That?” currently located at the very top of Spring St., will move to one of the two commercial spaces in the building, as will a cafÃ©, Ouellette said. The building itself, the facade of which will be built of brick, has strong architectural similarities to the Danforth block, located just north of the Log. “To me [the building] looks like a 21st century