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Context

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”

— A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf, English Novelist (1882-1941)

Community is essential to Bates. We are at our best when we are learning, sharing ideas, creating friendships, debating, planning, training leaders, discovering shared interests and having fun. Throughout our history, those exchanges have often happened in Commons — a facility at the heart of so many good things Bates represents.

Centrally located between Alumni Gymnasium and Garcelon Field, this welcoming facility will represent the best traditions of our current Memorial Commons — good conversation and good food in a friendly atmosphere — but it will not be hamstrung by a lack of space, outmoded equipment, and costly inefficiencies.

Top Priority

The dining facilities in Chase Hall are outdated, inefficient and undersized to serve the Bates community today and in the future. The present Commons does not have enough seating, our staff works in cramped and badly designed space and food storage and freezer space is so small that we can order food for only one day at a time. Built in 1920, Chase has been added to numerous times, creating an untamed structure of eight different levels that is too difficult to renovate and maintain as a suitable Commons for Bates going forward.

Location and Features

The new Commons will…

  • Occupy space next to Alumni Gym, across from Pettengill Hall and bordering Central Avenue;
  • Be 60,000 square feet — about the size of the entire current Chase Hall facility — and feature the second largest footprint of any campus building after Merrill Gym;
  • Harmonize with traditional Bates architecture by incorporating brick, granite, slate, copper and glass;
  • Preserve the distinctive Bates experience of a single, central dining hall where students, faculty and staff can dine together;
  • Offer a main dining area to accommodate 750 seats;
  • Feature a signature fireplace lounge for students to meet and chat from early morning until late at night;
  • Include mezzanine dining with 250 seats overlooking the main dining for peak times by those who want a quieter spot to eat and for student groups to meet;
  • Include a market that opens early and closes late to provide snacks and supplies for students;
  • Include five new meeting spaces for student groups, alumni, faculty and staff — space that is in high demand but currently at a premium on campus;
  • Feature the “marketplace” model of serving where Dining Services staff prepare meals at various stations, in full view, which will eliminate lines;
  • Give Dining Services staff proper kitchen facilities designed for efficient preparation of the 4,800 meals served every day;
  • Increase the amount of cold and dry storage spaces to achieve savings through the bulk purchase of food;
  • Feature complete exterior landscaping;
  • Be an important link on new east-west Bates Walk from College Street to the athletic facilities, a walkway that will strengthen connections on campus

Fund-raising goals

  • Gifts from individuals: $20 million. The facility will cost approximately $30 million; the balance will be financed through low-interest borrowing through the state of Maine.
  • Donors needed: An extraordinary gift of $12 million will name the building. Approximately 75 gifts ranging from $25,000, which will receive special recognition within the space, to $5 million, which will name the main dining area.
  • View architect renderings and floor plans here.

Timeline

Groundbreaking in fall 2006, with completion scheduled for January 2008.

Where you come in

Community is essential to Bates. We are at our best when we are learning, sharing ideas, creating friendships, debating, planning, training leaders, discovering shared interests and having fun. Throughout our history, those exchanges have often happened in Commons — a facility at the heart of so many good things Bates represents.

If you believe that a residential college needs a modern, well-functioning, comfortable place where students can connect, then our new Commons project will inspire you.

Project background

For more information

As Bates embarks on this venture, we will invite the community’s help to make this landmark project real. We invite you to review the stories and facts about Bates dining on these page and we welcome your comments. For more information, please contact Vice President for College Advancement Victoria M. Devlin:

Bates College
2 Andrews Road
Lewiston, ME 04240-6028
207-786-6247