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Context and concepts

East is east, and west is west, as Kipling said. But all Kipling aside, the twain shall meet at Bates in 2008, thanks to the new Alumni Walk project.

This major connector will give the Bates campus a new physical unity, tying east to west and pulling in facilities outside the traditional “Bates block.” It will link academic buildings and student residences, including the New Student Housing, to the New Dining Commons and meet an indoor arcade that connects with the walkway to the athletic facilities across Central Avenue. The Walk will be both a corridor and a place. It will replace the current Andrews Road — at heart a parking lot — with twin car-free thoroughfares passing through a grove of paper birches.

And in keeping with its companion projects, the new Commons and residential village, the Alumni Walk is explicitly designed as a supplement to the classroom — as another place for people to share ideas and excitement. Benches will encourage sitting and chatting. An amphitheater sloping from the path down toward Lake Andrews will serve as an academic forum. Eventually, it’s hoped, pieces of art will punctuate the walk.

The Alumni Walk and new Commons are administered as a single project, and both were designed by project architect Sasaki Associates.