Dining Halls to house S.U. boxes

As part of the ongoing plans for the new student center, College officials have finalized plans for relocating the many offices and services currently present in Baxter.

One of the important changes will be the creation of a decentralized mail system for students, which calls for the replacement of the current Baxter mailroom with a facility behind Chapin Hall and the relocation of mailboxes to four of the other dining halls.

During the planning phase, a committee was appointed by College Council (CC) to assist Buildings and Grounds (B&G) in developing plans for student functions that had to be relocated during the construction period.

According to Irene Addison, associate vice president for Facilities and Auxiliary Services, B&G felt that the creation of a temporary central mail facility was too expensive. The cost of relocation of facilities from Baxter is included in the project’s $36 million budget.

Addison said B&G was in the process of exploring two options before the student committee was formed. The first called for a central mail facility outside of Sawyer Library.

This idea was abandoned because the amount of space needed to carry out the facilities was larger than what was available. Also, the resulting price for this option was not considered to be economical for a temporary structure.

The other option explored separate exterior mail facilities outside of each residence hall. This was seen as a bad option because of the amount of labor needed to keep up the services.

The cost of leasing weatherproof mailboxes was also seen as exorbitant. Additionally, this option would have required mandatory changes in the SU box numbers.

The current plan calls for the division of boxes between the four remaining dining halls: Mission Park, Driscoll, Dodd and Greylock.

Under this plan, the campus will be divided into four zones based on where students live. The College endorsed this plan because it is most cost-effective.

Mailboxes will be located in public spaces in the dining halls, according to Christopher Williams, the assistant director for College Architectural Services.

Also, there will be a central receiving and sorting facility housed in a building behind Chapin Hall, where all mail will be received. Construction of this new facility is to begin some time this spring. The facility will also house an area for the reception of packages.

A major fear among students is that changes in SU box numbers will necessitate changes in mailing addresses. Before, students kept the same SU box number throughout their four years at the College.

“If students prefer to keep their same SU box number, that could certainly happen, but that will have to be balanced with other inconveniences such as the box being further away from their dorm,” Addison said. “It was thought that it would be more convenient to locate mailboxes in an area where a student’s dorm is located, but we could certainly change that strategy if it is important to keep the box number constant throughout the four years.”

“It is not anticipated that the campus organizations will have to change SU box numbers,” she continued. Current plans have the expected location of organizational boxes in the new campus sorting and distribution facility behind Chapin Hall.

“The bottom line on this issue is that we are going with a concept that was both developed and supported by a group of students,” Addison said. “If there is a better idea that will not negatively impact the Student Center budget, we are not so far along in the planning that we could not work on a different concept, but we do need to have the plans finalized in the next couple of months to ensure that we are able to relocate the function out of Baxter and make way for the construction of the new student center.”

If all goes according to schedule, the current Baxter mailroom should be dismantled by June 2004 and construction of the new facility behind Chapin Hall, as well as the facilities in the dining units, should be completed by August 2004.

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