Behold the first construction on the site of Bates’ new science building: A plywood and brick mockup built to give project architect Payette a few brick and mortar samples to consider.

“They want to see them in relation to Chu, Chase, and Carnegie halls,” explains Chris Streifel, the Facility Services project manager for the science building.

Located on Campus Avenue at the former site of a house used by the politics department, the mockup is a very early step in an aspect of the design process that typically takes painstaking deliberation. After all, changing the brick exterior of a building is not as easy as repainting your house.

The custom-made angled bricks at lower center hint at the distinctive contours of the new science building. (Doug Hubley/Bates College)

“This is a test of a few concepts that will help answer questions about the selections and specifications for design materials,” Streifel explains. “A much more elaborate mock-up will be constructed next year that will involve many of the exterior materials and conditions, and will be extensively tested and documented.“

Announced in May, construction of the science building itself will follow the demolition of two Bates-owned houses and a ramshackle garage early next spring. The biology and geology departments have used the garage for storage, and the houses, at 141 and 145 Nichols St., have been home to the Bates Communications Office since the late 1990s.

The mockup will be around for a few weeks. It’s the first construction on the actual science building site, but not the first related to that project: During the summer, cabling and an electrical vault near Chase Hall were installed to supply power to the new building, scheduled for completion by autumn 2021.

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