The case for Hedge

Hedge Hall (1890)

  • Location: Alumni Walk across from Pettengill Hall
  • Current gross square footage: 14,764
  • GSF to be added during renovation: 5,184
  • Programs moving in: Program in Environmental Studies; Department of Religious Studies; Department of Philosophy
  • Groundbreaking: spring 2010, with Hedge and Roger Williams undergoing simultaneous renovation as a single construction site
  • General contractor and architect: Wright-Ryan Construction; JSA
  • Completion: summer 2011
  • Cost: $15 million for both Hedge and Roger Williams


Architecturally speaking, Hedge Hall is among the College’s most significant buildings. Designed by leading Maine architect George M. Coombs, who designed the Kora Shrine Temple near campus as well as a number of churches, schools, and municipal buildings in Maine, the building was originally a chemistry laboratory before becoming a residence.

Hedge’s style is Richardsonian Romanesque, named for architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Rebecca Corrie, the Phillips Professor of Art and Visual Culture, notes that Hedge “compares favorably” to Richardson’s Crane Memorial Library in Quincy, Mass.

Renovation Features

This rendering shows the north side of Hedge Hall, facing Alumni Walk. The addition will feature a formal entrance and a partially glassed stairway, enhancing Hedge’s dynamic presence on the walk.

Changes to Hedge’s facade (facing the Quad) are mostly daylighting improvements, including new dormer windows and expanded first-floor windows.

On the north side (facing Alumni Walk), Hedge will feature a new addition integrated into the main structure; a formal entrance onto Alumni Walk, strengthening the walk’s identity; and a partially glassed stairway enhancing Hedge’s dynamic presence on the walk and, especially at night, offering an inviting look for passers-by.

Because Roger Williams and Hedge halls are supported only by their multi-wythe brick walls, both will be brought up to seismic and structural codes. For the most part, this will be achieved by creating a steel load-bearing structure within the existing masonry envelope.

As with Roger Williams, the renovated and expanded interior will feature a neat integration of classrooms, lounges, thesis rooms,  faculty offices, and common spaces.

The Need

Faculty and students who will learn, teach, discuss and study in Hedge Hall currently do their academic work in small wood-frame buildings. Philosophy and religious studies are on Campus Avenue near the Lewiston Middle School, and environmental studies is on Bardwell Street.

Bates has long known that such wood-frame buildings lack key spaces — such as lounges and thesis rooms, not to mention a sensible traffic flow — critical to creating academic community among faculty and their majors.

Esprit de corps is especially important in environmental studies, says Emily Grady ’10.

A program like environmental studies has especially myriad connection to various other academic programs at Bates. “Yet our current location isolates us,” says Dana Professor of Chemistry Tom Wenzel, chair of the environmental studies program.

Creating camaraderie and confidence is important among any group of academic majors, says environmental studies major Emily Grady ’10 of Littleton, Mass., but esprit de corps is especially important in her field, where the imperative is “to share opinions and to take action on issues,” she says.

Faculty, staff and students are now working on Bates new Climate Action Plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2020. Hedge will give those collaborators a shared space to tackle such tough issues. “Activists need community, too,” Grady says.

Space Inventory

Ground Floor
Environmental Studies and Shared Spaces

  • Large Classroom approx. 31 feet by 32 feet
  • Environmental Commons approx. 7 feet by 16 feet
  • Meeting Room approx. 11 feet by 15 feet
  • Department Office and Clerical Space
  • Shower

First Floor
Environmental Studies

  • Large Classroom approx. 32 feet by 33 feet
  • Lounge approx. 22 feet by 26 feet
  • Faculty Offices (4)
  • Thesis Room approx. 11 feet by 16 feet
  • Commons approx. 11 feet by 17 feet
  • Flex Office (1)

Second Floor
Religious Studies

  • Medium Classroom approx. 26 feet by 33 feet
  • Lounge approx. 22 feet by 27 feet
  • Faculty Offices (5)
  • Thesis Room approx. 15 feet by 11 feet
  • Study approx. 14 feet by 15 feet
  • Flex Offices (2)

Third Floor

  • Lounge approx. 21 feet by 27 feet
  • Faculty Offices (5)
  • Thesis Room approx. 11 feet by 14 feet
  • Commons approx. 11 feet by 14 feet
  • Commons approx. 14

Key Idea
Bates has long known that wood-frame buildings lack key elements, such as lounges, thesis rooms and a sensible traffic flow, critical to creating academic community among faculty and their majors.

Get Updated
Follow the progress of the Hedge and Roger Williams project with staff writer Doug Hubley’s Campus Construction Updates. Have a question about the project? E-mail Doug Hubley and he’ll answer it in a forthcoming update.

For More Information
For more information and giving opportunities, contact Jennifer Richard, College Advancement, 207-786-6476.