As autumn begins, summer construction is wrapping up at the College and in the surrounding community with the completion of renovations to the Oakley Center, Tyler Annex, Parsons, Woodbridge, Lasell Gymnasium and the First Congregational Church on Main Street. Whitmans’, Driscoll and Mission Park dining halls have also seen reconstruction.
At the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the College undertook exterior renovations, including the installation of a handicapped ramp into the building.
The changes were partly to compensate for natural deterioration and partly to comply with accessibility laws.
Students in Tyler Annex are now able to control heating in individual rooms after the summer’s heating system upgrade. This change, according to senior project manager Michael Briggs, will increase both student comfort and energy savings as a new part of the College’s ongoing environmental initiatives.
Structural repairs in both Parsons and Woodbridge rounded off the College’s examination of flooring in all residential buildings.
In Parsons, existing single-pane windows were replaced with either double-glazed fiberglass or vinyl to increase energy efficiency.
For the first time in more than 80 years, the flooring of Lasell Gym will be replaced.
Due to summer space commitments, the project was started in mid-August and will conclude in the next two or three weeks, according to Briggs.
As before, the new floor will be constructed of strip maple but will now include a new type of user-friendly protective surfacing. This change will reduce the need for re-sanding and refinishing the floor, which is typically necessary on a yearly basis.
Following the closing of Greylock and Dodd dining halls last spring, the College has added additional ovens and grills to Driscoll, Whitmans’ and Mission Park dining halls to serve a higher volume of students at these locations. Mission Park also saw the addition of a Tandoori oven.
The check-in counter in Whitman’s was rebuilt to allow students to swipe their ID cards upon entering the dining hall instead of when they exit, speeding traffic flow into and out of the dining hall.
First Congregational Church
The First Congregational Church of Willilamstown is undertaking renovation of its 100-foot-tall steeple. The steeple suffers from peeling paint and some leaking, although it remains structurally sound.
Additional work on the roof and chimneys will be completed alongside the steeple renovations, according to Susan Clarke, chairwoman of the church’s stewardship cluster.
“It was obvious there was damage to the steeple,” Clarke said. “We felt an obligation to the community to keep the steeple in good repair.”
The repairs have been contracted to Patrick’s Quality Painting of Stephentown, N.Y. and will cost the Church between $60,000 and $70,000.
In addition to a private loan from a member of the congregation, the Church has received a three-year loan from the Williamstown Savings Bank to fund the repair.
The steeple dates from the mid-19th century when the Church was moved from Field Park to its current building. Since then, it has been an iconic feature of the campus skyline.
Due to the historic lead paint, additional care was taken with the scaffolding to ensure that the paint would not blow over the surrounding area.