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Campus Construction Updates (2006-08)

Below is the projects’ history as captured in the “Campus Construction Update” series. Produced by Doug Hubley of the Office of Communications and Media Relations, the updates had expert input from Paul Farnsworth, manager of the Commons and Alumni Walk projects, and Pam Wichroski, manager of the new student residence project.

Week of Dec. 4, 2006: For the most part, until next spring, “we’re done with construction outside the fence” that surrounds the new Commons site, said Paul Farnsworth, manager of the Commons-Alumni Walk construction project. Read more . . .

Week of Dec. 11, 2006: Many of us give little thought to heating season until it’s time to get the furnace cleaned or pick a heating-oil budget plan. Not surprisingly, ensuring that Bates’ new residential cluster would be cozy and warm for its first heating season, beginning in autumn 2007, took a bit more effort. Read more . . .

Week of Dec. 18, 2006: While most Bates people will be away from campus from Dec. 22 until January, construction workers will still be busy on the new residential cluster at Mount David and the dining Commons-Alumni Walk project. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 8, 2007: About nine months remain before students move into the new student housing, adjacent to Rand Hall. And, much the way an image materializes on an old-fashioned photo in its chemical bath, the outlines of the facility are taking clear shape. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 15, 2007: Wooden roof trusses for the new residential village near Mount David will start going into place this week. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 23, 2007: Now open in a sleekly renovated section of Coram Library is the Bates College Imaging and Computing Center. Under construction since July 2006, the center enhances Bates’ ability to teach visual presentation and interpretive skills. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 29, 2007: Considering how much trouble a Maine winter can cause, the people handling Bates’ major campus-improvement projects have gotten off easy so far. Lucky weather, top-notch planning and good contractors have kept the new student housing and dining Commons-Alumni Walk projects on schedule. Read more . . .

Week of Feb. 5, 2007: Construction of the new student housing, at College Street and Mountain Avenue, is making hot progress despite the continuing bitter cold. Read more . . .

Week of Feb 12, 2007:As we told you in the Jan. 29 edition of this space, recent construction projects have included a giant pit about halfway between Alumni Gym and Pettengill Hall, near the site of the new dining Commons. Read more . . .

Week of Feb. 26, 2007: It was a milestone of sorts for the new Commons project: the first use of plastic wrap in the kitchen. All right, so this wasn’t the kind of plastic wrap that keeps the rain off your mac and cheese. Instead, it was poly sheeting used to enclose what will become the heart of Dining Services, the kitchen and servery. Read more . . .

Week of March 5, 2007:The first students with the option to actually occupy Bates’ new student housing are making that choice now. With less than six months to go before the residence next to Mount David opens, it’s housing lottery time again, and floor plans for the facility have been posted in Chase Hall along with all the other housing. Read more . . .

Week of March 12, 2007: In April, work resumes on the cross-campus connector originally known as the Bates Walk, now officially titled the Alumni Walk. This east-west corridor will run from College Street through what is now Andrews Road and up to the new dining Commons. Paul Farnsworth, manager of both projects, explained this week that Walk work will recommence at a site between Lane and Pettengill halls. Read more . . .

Week of March 19, 2007: An interior tour of the new Commons on March 14 impressed Campus Construction Update many times over. What was so impressive? So much steel overhead and so much ice-crusted mud underfoot. The fast pace and no-nonsense demeanor of the workers hired by contractor Consigli Construction Co. Most of all, the size of the building, the soaring space of the building’s main dining hall and the views of campus it will command. Read more . . .

Week of March 26, 2007: We knew the three-story scaffold staircase was safe, because dozens of construction workers use it everyday without incident. But nevertheless it wobbled, the stairtreads were small, and it was all open, so there was no question about how far away the ground was. Read more . . .

Week of April 2, 2007: It’s nearly go time for construction of the Alumni Walk, the east-west campus connector replacing Andrews Road, reported project manager Paul Farnsworth. On April 16, work on the project — which previously carried the generic moniker “Bates Walk” — is scheduled to begin. Read more . . .

Week of April 9, 2007: Between the mud, the plastic wrap and the concrete, the colors of construction work are predominantly drab. But the rare “colorful” colors, as major projects abuilding at Bates this year have shown, can be surprisingly bold. Read more . . .

Week of April 16, 2007: The latest assaults from the Winter That Wouldn’t Go Home were two northeasters: one that dropped 10 inches of sloppy snow on April 12, followed three days later by its big brother, a bully that brought more than six inches of rain and tree-cracking winds. Lewiston was spared the worst of that storm, but it nevertheless slowed the pace of campus construction projects. Read more . . .

Week of April 23, 2007: The new residence adjacent to Mount David began to look more distinctly like Bates on April 19, as workers began laying the building’s brick veneer. With two crews on the job, the bricklaying is moving fast, said project manager Pam Wichroski. Read more . . .

Week of May 7, 2007: Like tea leaves, some parts of the built environment can offer clues about the future, if you know how to read them. The bases for light poles, for instance. On the new Alumni Walk, the east-west pedestrian connector supplanting Andrews Road, six out of 14 of these concrete cylinders have been planted in the dirt. They won’t tell you much about your own future, but you can divine a bit from them about Alumni Walk. Read more . . .

Week of May 21, 2007: Engineers last week began the process of testing electrical, mechanical and other systems in the new student housing. The tests, which will continue until the College takes over the building sometime in July, are part of the building’s commissioning — a process of ensuring that everything works and looks as it should. Read more . . .

Week of June 4, 2007: After nearly two months looking like a battlefield with its mud, dust, broken roots and debris, the 2.5 acre Alumni Walk site will soon sprout a bit of soothing green. According to project manager Paul Farnsworth, a handful of paper birch trees will be planted along the south edge of the site next week. These are a sort of advance guard for the 178 birches that will ultimately grace the Walk. Read more . . .

Week of July 2, 2007: The new student housing should be ready for occupancy in August, right on schedule, said Suzanne Grant, clerk of the works for the project. But there’s still a ways to go before students can start hanging their whiteboards and Gene Pitney posters. Read more . . .

Week of July 16, 2007: Upcoming road closures will add a certain frisson of adventure to life at Bates. On Friday, July 20, College Street will be closed at Mountain Avenue for the construction of a raised pedestrian crossing, or traffic table, to link Alumni Walk with the new student housing. Signage will help direct motorists to alternate routes. Read more . . .

Week of July 30, 2007: Mid- to late August will be a watershed time for Bates campus improvements. The headline news will be the opening of the new student housing, next to Mount David and Rand Hall. While most Bates students won’t return to campus until the end of the month, a handful will move into the new housing sooner. Read more . . .

Week of Aug. 13, 2007: With its first occupants scheduled to move in later in the day, the new Bates student housing was introduced to the community with speeches and tours during the morning of Aug. 17. Read more . . .

Week of Aug. 27, 2007: On Friday, Aug. 31, construction crews rushed to get much of Alumni Walk ready for traffic as students returned in force. The short-term objective is to open the walk from College Street as far east as Pettengill Hall. The entire walk won’t be finished for weeks, and even in the section soon to open, landscaping chores, the placement of benches and lights, and similar work will continue. Read more . . .

Week of Sept. 10, 2007: Paul Farnsworth, manager of the new dining Commons and Alumni Walk projects, reported that 140,000 flower bulbs were shipped our way from California on Sept. 11. Read more . . .

Week of Sept. 24, 2007: An afternoon thunderstorm on Sept. 27 occasioned an Alumni Walk first: emergency vehicles entering in response to a campus alarm. Although there was no fire, lightning caused a power surge in the fire detection system, frying a computer chip and setting off an alarm in Hathorn Hall. Two Lewiston Fire Department units responded to the call sent out by the system, according to Greg LaCroix, lead electrician for Physical Plant. Read more . . .

Week of Oct. 8, 2007: On Oct. 8, the outdoor gas grill at 280 College St., the new student residence, made its barbecue debut. Residence coordinators Jenn Linton ’08 and Matt Lopez ’08 hosted an inaugural cookout that had been delayed a couple weeks while shipping damage to the grill was fixed. Read more . . .

Week of Oct. 22, 2007: The project isn’t inspiring like Alumni Walk, magnificent like the new dining Commons or heartwarming like the new student housing. But a new parking lot behind Merrill Gymnasium that should open around Thanksgiving will come in handy, easing the squeeze that Bates motorists have felt the past six months. Read more . . .

Week of Nov. 5, 2007: The new dining Commons should be open for business when students return from break on Feb. 25, project manager Paul Farnsworth reported. And it’s hoped that construction work will be complete about a month prior to the opening. Read more . . .

Week of Nov. 26, 2007: Just a few months ago, new construction projects at Bates were transforming a swath of campus that extended from Mount David to Merrill Gym. Now, like a Hollywood crane shot where the camera swoops down from lofty to intimate, the focus of construction at Bates is closing in on the interior of the new dining Commons. Read more . . .

Week of Dec. 10, 2007: If the schedule holds, in about 10 weeks Dining Services will serve the first meals in the new dining Commons. “It’s going to be a fabulous facility,” Dining Services director Christine Schwartz told Campus Construction Update during a conversation about the transition from old to new. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 7, 2008: A student serving on a food advisory committee once told Christine Schwartz, Dining Services’ director, that anticipating a meal at the current Memorial Commons is like getting psyched up for battle. “You pretty much have to fight your way through Commons now” because of the way the space is arranged, Schwartz said. All that will change when the new Commons opens in February. Read more . . .

Week of Jan. 21, 2008: In recent weeks we’ve learned what Dining Services director Christine Schwartz likes about the new dining Commons. Now it’s the turn of Paul Farnsworth, Bates’ project manager for the building. Read more . . .

Week of Feb. 4, 2008: With the official opening just weeks away, the new dining Commons passed a milestone early on Feb. 7: the arrival of its first truckload of food. The Performance Food Group semi backed into the Commons’ truck bay, on Central Avenue, shortly after dawn as an overnight snowfall tapered off. Read more . . .

Week of March 3, 2008: About 1,000 Bates people put the new dining Commons to the test over dinner on Monday, Feb. 25, Dining Services director Christine Schwartz estimated the following day. It was the first dinner served at the facility with the entire campus community back from winter break. (The Commons had served the first board plan meal Sunday night and offered a limited menu during break week.) Schwartz was pleased – and her staff, she said, loves their new workplace. Read more . . .