Green construction on Kellogg House to finish in November

The College recently announced that Kellogg House, which has bee under construction for a year, will be completed in November. The College’s other construction projects, the Stetson Court dormitories and Bascom House, remain long-term projects.

Kellogg House, built in 1794 to serve as the residence of the President of the College, was last occupied by the Center for Environmental Studies. It is undergoing renovations to house both the CES and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. 

“President Adam Falk was the one who really strongly wanted the Zilkha Center and the CES to be in the same location,” Amy Johns, director of the Zilkha Center, said, “The CES has grown over the years, especially with the addition of the environmental science and environmental policy majors, and more professors need more office space and more classes need more classrooms.” 

The finished building will be a candidate for certification from the International Living Future Institute for fulfilling the standards set by its Living Building Challenge. 

“We came about the decision to do the Living Building Challenge as a design strength … We wanted the new environmental center to be innovative, a teaching tool, an exemplar of green building,” Johns said.

To achieve certification, the building must have net zero water and energy use, not include materials that appear on the Institute’s Red List, dedicate 35 percent of the original project area to agriculture and conform with other rigorous specifications. 

“It’s an interesting system,” Johns said. “There have been a lot of challenges.  Some of them have had to do with the fact that we are renovating an historic building to this very high standard.  It’s a very new system, and we are really paving the way in a lot of respects.” 

In spite of some difficulties and the remaining work, Johns remains enthusiastic about the project.

“This has really made everybody who is on the Building Committee think deeply about the issues, which is not something that always happens on these committees … I think it is a really interesting process,” Johns said.

The College is developing plans to construct the first new student dormitory on campus in over forty years at Stetson Court where Harper House and Mather House currently stand. The new residence will accommodate 60 upperclass students in 40 singles and 10 doubles and is slated for completion during the summer of 2016. 

“The committee [for the construction of the Stetson Court dormitory] determined over the summer that the layout of the building should be in ten 6-person suites. Some are all single suites and some are suites with two doubles and two singles,” said Director of the Office of Student Life Doug Schiazza, “Each suite is to have its own bathroom and a small common space. Additionally, two suites would share a mid-sized common space that might include amenities like a TV and a small kitchenette. The design for building-wide common spaces currently includes an entry foyer that flows into a house living room, a kitchen and dining area, collaborative learning space and laundry facilities.”

The committee will attempt to design the building so that it will integrate into the existing architecture of Stetson Court. 

“As we began our committee’s work this summer, we determined that the external design would primarily need to reflect the current, traditional architecture on Stetson Court while incorporating current, modern elements. We wanted to ensure the best use of the location in creating more of a student community on Stetson Court, keeping in mind natural foot traffic patterns and connections with Agard, Main Street and even Hoxsey Street,” Schiazza said. 

The College designed the addition to Stetson Court with a focus on environmental sustainability. 

“We wanted a design that would be energy-efficient and incorporate critical sustainability elements,” Schiazza said. “Thus far, we believe the design we’re developing is meeting those determinations quite handsomely.” 

In addition to the two current construction projects on campus, the College has long-term plans for the relocation of certain departments to ultimately create space for more upperclassmen housing. 

Rita Coppola-Wallace, executive director of design and construction, informed the Record that “Plans are moving ahead … for the Admissions and Financial Aid offices to move to Weston Hall. We expect to have them moved in by the end of next year,” Rita Coppola-Wallace, executive director of design and construction, said. Bascom House, which houses the Office of Admissions now, “may be continued office space, as the need is there.  However … the long-range plan is that Bascom will return to student housing,” as it was prior to 2003.   

While the renovated Kellogg House will open in November, the College’s other ongoing construction project, the Stetson Court dormitory, will not open until the summer of 2016, and the College has yet to announce its plans for the Bascom house, which is set to become vacant by the end of the 2015-16 academic year. Plans for the Kellogg House are available for viewing on the College’s website, and plans for the Stetson Court dormitory will be available soon.

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