Stetson-Sawyer readies for June start

The Stetson-Sawyer project is now slated to begin construction following Commencement and reunion week in June 2011. The project, which was delayed in October 2008 due to the economic crisis, was announced to resume by President Falk two years later in October 2010. The new Sawyer library is expected to open in September 2014.

Since Falk’s announcement, the Stetson-Sawyer project committee has “focused on selecting a construction-management firm and on the search for ways to make the new building as LEED-compliant and environmentally sustainable as possible, subject to the limits of the design,” according to Michael Brown, professor of anthropology and co-chair of the committee.

The committee is currently working with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson architects and the construction management firm Consigli. Both firms were also involved in the development of Hollander and Schapiro Halls.

“One of key aspects of specific experience we discussed during our interviews with prospective construction management firms was that they had worked on campuses before and could demonstrate their success and expertise in managing respectful, low-impact work sites,” Vice President for Operations Steve Klass said. “Significant planning and monitoring expertise are required to be successful in this regard and we believe that we have an excellent partner in this endeavor in Consigli.”

While classes remain in session, “you’re likely to see construction fences going up, basic site preparation and demolition of the two post-1920s additions to Stetson Hall,” Brown said. “The College will not retain Seeley House but will offer it should an interested party come forward who might want to move the building onto their own property. When we made this offer a few years ago, we received one preliminary indication of interest but no definite proposal,” Head Librarian and Co-Chair of the Stetson-Sawyer project Dave Pilachowski said.

“Should no one come forward who is interested in reusing Seeley in a non-campus location, the building would be taken down and be recycled to the [greatest] extent possible.”

The current preparations are not very visible on campus, but they are incredibly significant to the process, according to Klass. “While decidedly unsexy, these early-phase, behind-the-scenes steps are among the most important elements in establishing the contractual and logistical infrastructure around which the project will be built,” he said.

The committee envisions the new library playing a large role on campus. “When it opens, the new library/information technology (IT) facility will reframe the campus’ physical space and energize intellectual life by bringing together all the key resources of a great college: students, faculty, library and IT resources and staff and some of the richest archival and rare-book collections in North America,” Brown said.

Approximately a year into construction, Pilachowski expects the broader campus community to be involved in furniture choices.

Those involved in the project hope that the finished product will rival Schow and Paresky as hubs of student life. “We believe that the new Sawyer Library will be a dynamic place that draws students, faculty, staff and local residents to it day and night,” Pilachowski said.

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