College takes steps to improve quality of life in Greylock Quad

In an attempt to minimize the impact of the construction on the residents of the Greylock Quad, the College has released a schedule for the construction of the new Center for Theatre and Dance. Despite these adjustments, many believe current residents will still be affected by the construction; in fact, it may even deter rising juniors from choosing the Greylock Quad in the upcoming room draw.

The design for the new theater and dance complex calls for an expansion of the current Adams Memorial Theater (AMT) which will include a new 550-seat theater, a new studio theater, and several storage spaces. The entire center is scheduled to be completed in June 2005.

Construction of the new complex is already underway. According to Eric Beattie, director of Facilities, Planning, and Construction at Buildings & Grounds (B&G), the short-term objective from now until March 12 is to construct a temporary access venue from Main Street to the south side of the Greylock Dining Hall.

Beattie noted that after the completion of this delivery access venue nearly all the construction activity will be confined within the construction fence.

As the construction of this access venue is completed, the excavation for the basement and foundations of the complex will begin and continue through the end of May.

In April, the concrete foundations for the complex will be laid, and the basement walls will be constructed.

Once the foundations for the complex are completed, the structural steel support for the building will be erected during the months of August through November. Pending completion of the support, from October through January, construction will entail pouring the concrete floor slabs, installing the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and putting up interior walls.

Construction of the building’s exterior, including the exterior brick, stone masonry and roof, will begin in February 2004. With the exterior intact, interior systems and other finishes will be added from May 2004 until February 2005. Finally, the last phase of the project, the renovation of the current AMT, will begin in September 2004 and conclude in June 2005.

The College has taken several steps ito lessen some of the problems, which naturally accompany a long-term construction project. For example, the College has attempted to synchronize the construction hours with students’ sleeping habits.

According to Beattie, “We have altered the construction hours from the normal 7 a.m. start to 8 a.m. in order to help alleviate concerns about early morning sleeping habits of students.”

Furthermore, the College plans to keep Greylock area residents informed of the progress of the construction.

Recently, Bruce Decoteau, construction projects supervisor, distributed information to all residents of Greylock regarding which paths may be taken between Greylock and the rest of campus.

“[Decoteau] will issue regular e-mails to Greylock, Woodbridge, and Rectory residents to let them know of upcoming events on the site,” Beattie said. “We are also working on a project website that can inform students of the overall schedule of the project.”

Regardless of these measures, certain issues commonly associated with construction, such as the loud noises and travel difficulties, may prove hard to overcome.

The recent utility work in the Greylock Quad is probably not a good indication of the noise level of the upcoming project.

Much of the upcoming work will be buffered by the AMT and the Greylock Dining Hall, so Greylock Quad will be a bit more protected,” said Beatie. “[m]ake no mistake, there will be noisy activity. It is an unavoidable by-product of construction.”

He added that construction projects such as this one must also abide by ordinances governing noise disturbances passed by the town of Williamstown.“[W]e will do as much as we can to minimize it and time it so that those living and working nearby are inconvenienced as little as possible,” said Beattie.

Another unfortunate effect of construction includes travel difficulties as construction may cause blocked pedestrian pathways. As previously mentioned, the College plans to notify students ahead of time if the need to obstruct pedestrian traffic.

With these factors in mind, there is speculation that rising juniors may opt to live in Mission Park, which will be renovated this summer, rather than the Greylock Quad.

Should many rising juniors choose to live in Mission Park at the upcoming room draw, according to Robin Malloy, manager of real estate and housing, an increased number of sophomores will be forced to live in Greylock Quad next year.