Mission: College guarantees on-time opening

Despite significant summer construction on student housing, the schedule for students’ arrival to campus in the fall will remain relatively similar to that of previous years.

Mission Park, which will undergo a $7 million renovation this summer, will not open until Aug. 29. Most other student dorms will open on Aug. 26. Although recent campus construction has become notorious for running late, Michael Riggs, coordinator of the Mission renovation project, said “there are no contingency plans.”

“The contract is very firm that the renovation schedule is not flexible and the building will be ready for occupancy on time,” Riggs said.

Chadbourne, the only other house undergoing major construction on campus this summer, is scheduled to open on Aug. 27, according to Linda Brown, coordinator of Housing Services.

While the construction will delay the arrival of some students to campus, the College hopes that this will have a minimal effect on student life and the ability of Housing Coordinators (HCs) to prepare for the arrival of their fellow residents. “The delayed opening of Mission will probably be an inconvenience for the HCs, however I’m confident they will handle it. I’m sure they’ll do their very best to be ready for the students. I’m also sure students will understand if the Mission HCs aren’t quite as ready as other HCs,” said Jean Thorndike, director of Campus Safety.

Instead, Thorndike expressed hope that the advantages brought about by the construction would outweigh any potential burdens on students. “It’s difficult to predict if the construction will have any other effects on the students’ return in the fall,” she said. “I do know the renovations should have a positive impact and will make a significant difference. The common areas look fantastic and will create a more open social space for students to gather.”

In addition, no specific changes have been proposed to the structure of First Days for incoming first-years, according to Norma Lopez, assistant dean of the College and coordinator of the program for the Dean’s Office. This orientation period will run from Aug. 27 through Sept. 3. Lopez also anticipates that the construction will have no effect on the Junior Advisors (JAs) or their training.

However, small changes have been planned within individual programs, following the results of surveys on First Days programs. These were distributed earlier in the year by the Frosh Council.

According to Dean Lopez, there is a “very good chance” that an arts program will be added to the mid-orientation period, during which “Where Am I?”(WAI) and Williams Outdoor Orientation for Living as First-Years (WOOLF) take place. “Our vision is of a program that would expose students to dance, theater, studio art and music via programs put on by those departments. We would also take advantage of various cultural venues in the region,” Roseman said.

Besides this proposed addition, little will be changed in the various other programs.

“The macro-schedule for ‘Where Am I?’ will be substantially the same as it was last year,” said Richard Spalding, chaplain of the College. “The process of fine-tuning and polishing the micro-schedule, how each of the small groups will spend specific blocks, will be going on pretty much all through the summer. The two major changes in the program are the result of evaluations received after last year’s WAI. . . The opening activities will be much more refined and will include a lot more group-building time and the road trips will be shorter and have a more flexible itinerary.” The program has also added additional training for its leaders. “They will be training for three full days. . . at the same time that WOOLF leaders and JAs are also being trained,” Spalding said.

Spalding does not anticipate that the construction will be an issue for these leaders when they arrive in the fall, although there are no plans yet for dealing with the issue, either on the part of WAI or by the Housing Office. “I’m confident that by the time students arrive on campus, plans will be in place to accommodate those students who will reside in Mission next year,including a few of the ‘Where Am I?’ leaders,” he said.

WOOLF leaders have not yet been informed of what their housing situation will look like when they arrive on campus in the fall, but most were confident that their needs would be accommodated.According to Elana Boehm ’06, who will be a WOOLF leader in the fall, “With so many sophomores living in Mission and leading WOOLF trips, I’m sure they will find some way to house us and our stuff.”

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *