B&L Service Station to be replaced by new building

Yesterday morning the College demolished the B&L Service Station at the end of Spring Street. Over the next couple of weeks, construction will begin on a new 15,000 sq. foot building that will have office, residential and retail space.

According to Helen Ouellette, vice president for Administration and Treasurer and overseer of College building projects, the 3-story building will include two two-bedroom apartments and two 2-bedroom apartments for College faculty and staff members on the top floor. The Human Resources, Payroll and Benefits office will occupy space on the second floor, vacating its current offices in Hopkins Hall and Droppers House. Where’d You Get That?, a toy retailer, will move from the College-owned building at 20 Spring Street to the ground level of the new building. Cold Spring Coffee Roasters will also move to the first floor of the new building and will feature indoor and outdoor seating. Williams will provide space free of charge to the Town for a visitors’ center with public restrooms.

Ouellette said construction activities cannot begin until test results of underground conditions are completed. “The environmental issues [of the site] were already taken care of when the College assumed ownership of the site, but there will still be testing of the underground conditions as a precaution.” Once the results of the tests are in, which Ouellette estimates could take several weeks, the College will have a better idea of the construction schedule. “We expect to have the building enclosed by winter, and ready for occupancy by late spring,” she said.

As College policy, construction will not begin before 7 a.m.of respect for Town residents. Ouellette said there will be little inconvenience to those who live in the area and while there may be “momentary traffic hold-ups due to the nature of the equipment used, it shouldn’t be significant.” Ouellette said facilities management officials will be meeting privately with neighbors to explain the project.

The cost for the building is estimated to be $3.7 million dollars. A local architectural firm, Burr & McCallum, designed the building, which Ouellette describes as a “conventional 3-story brick building with a porch.” It will feature a courtyard in front of the toy store, in part to preserve an existing elm tree. There will be parking in the rear for residents.

The Town has approved all plans for the building, so Ouellette does not anticipate any hold-ups. “Spring Street peters out, and the College has been looking for a really strong draw [at the end].” Ouellette said. “When the site of the new Theater and Dance Center was moved to Main Street, we were looking for a new anchor on Spring Street – this is it.”

The new building will free up space elsewhere on campus, as well. The College is working with a consultant to determine what sort of retail presence would be most beneficial in the present location of Where’d You Get That?. The space that the Payroll Office frees up in Droppers will house the Dining Services offices, leaving more room for student space in the new student center.

Leave a reply

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