Sawyer Library foundation provides parking solution

I feel that there is an opportunity to relieve some of the parking pressure that currently exists in central campus. Instead of removing all of the existing Sawyer library, how about leaving the basement level, then bridge across using the existing footings and foundation walls of the existing footprint and create an underground garage? The roof of the new structure could then be filled in and planted, thus saving the green beltway/quadrangle effect currently envisioned.

Good access for ingress and egress can be smoothly provided off of the one-way Chapin Drive. Such a garage would provide weekday parking for staff and faculty located in Hopkins and the new North and South buildings currently under construction. Just as important, it would provide parking that is so desperately needed for evening functions in Chapin and Brooks-Rogers. The most recent Berkshire Symphony performance saw cars parked illegally and unsafely all along Chapin and Mission Drives. Such events are welcomed by the Williamstown community, but quite honestly parking is atrocious and very difficult for elderly citizens that are attracted to such events. A function already in progress consumed the Congregational Church’s parking lot on the night of the Berkshire Symphony, aggravating parking even further that night.

My guess is that 50 to 75 parking spaces could be created, that aesthetics could still be very pleasing, and that the College might afford some nice savings by reusing the existing Sawyer foundation. Parks on top of underground parking areas are quite common especially in urban areas. One that comes to mind is Military Park in downtown Newark, N.J.

Robert Hadden
Williamstown, Mass.