College announces new residential dorm

Harper House is one of two buildings that will be removed to make room for the construction of a new residential dorm which is scheduled to open in 2016. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Boley.
Harper House is one of two buildings that will be removed to make room for the construction of a new residential dorm which is scheduled to open in 2016. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Boley.

With the conclusion of this academic year, there are a few important construction projects that are nearing completion, as well as new ones that are just starting. Notably, the College is beginning committee meetings on the construction of the first new dorm on campus in over 40 years.

Steve Klass, vice president for campus life, sent a daily message yesterday morning announcing the upcoming construction of a new dorm on campus. This will be the first new dorm built at the College in over 40 years. The building committee will begin its work this month.  The committee is co-chaired by Doug Schiazza, director of the office of student life, and Rita Coppola-Wallace, executive director for design and construction in facilities.  Other members of the committee include: Steve Nafziger, associate professor of economics; Amy Johns ’98, director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives; Keli Kaegi, assistant to the president and secretary of the College; David Dewey ’82, senior development officer in college relations; Jason Moran, project manager from facilities; and students Eva Fourakis ’16 and Karen Huan ’16.

The new dorm will be built on the current site of Harper House and Mather House. After careful analysis, the committee decided that instead of renovating the buildings, they will be torn down and a completely new structure will be built.  According to Klass, “The plan is to develop up to 60 beds in a residence hall that is scaled to the other buildings in that neighborhood.” This means that the new residence hall will likely take the form of a two-story house, so that it does not stand out on Stetson Court. “We would then use that new residence to house the 41 students from Garfield, leaving Garfield empty and giving the College time to think about how best to use that building and site,” Klass said. Bascom House, the current site of the Office of Admissions, will be converted back into student housing in the years after Admissions moves to Weston Hall.  The anticipated completion of the new dorm is set for May 2016, so that the building will be available for use during that summer.

The Stetson-Sawyer complex is scheduled to open to the public in July. The College has already started the process of moving books into the new library. “Special Collections and Archives have already been moved into the new library,” Bruce Decoteau, senior project manager for facilities, said. “The Sawyer collection will begin moving on June 16 and will take about one month to complete.”  During the summer of 2015, the old Sawyer Library will be taken down, and plans for an academic quad to replace it are currently in the works. The new library will be celebrated over convocation weekend in September.

Construction on Kellogg House is also moving along as scheduled. Kellogg House is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge guidelines. The building has to demonstrate that it meets 20 imperatives after it is officially opened.  The Kellog House must be a self-sustainable structure, with zero net water and energy consumption.The Weston Field Project is scheduled for completion this summer.  The new complex will include a lighted turf field for use by football, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse. A permanent-seat grandstand will accompany this field, with a press box, coaches’ boxes and broadcast booths at the top. Under the grandstand, there will be storage, concession stands and bathrooms. There will also be a new track, with a turf field for the field hockey team inside of the track. This field will also be lighted and have a scoreboard. The new facilities will be dedicated on Oct. 11, 2014.