February 2010 Facilities Update

Dear members of the Bates community,

As you know, the Campus Facilities Master Plan Update process, following an intensive period of study, discussion, and planning over the last nine months, is now substantially completed. Many of you attended the last in a series of campus-wide forums on January 19 to hear about the planning team’s final recommendations, and I thank all who participated for your questions and comments.

At the recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, our planning consultants presented the Update in some detail. Trustees considered how this work builds on the original Campus Facilities Master Plan and establishes a framework and sequence of improvements, with detailed focus now on Phase II of that plan. Following through on the theme of deepening opportunities for connection and community exemplified in Phase I projects like new Commons and Alumni Walk, the Plan emphasizes a distributed model of the campus by promoting a layout that invites students, faculty, and administrators to cross and re-cross—weaving together informal and formal learning spaces and supporting our efforts to collaborate and interact with each other and the world. The Update also anticipates that circumstances and needs constantly evolve at a dynamic institution like Bates, and so it proposes strategies that enable us to be flexible and adaptable to change.

The Board wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorsed the Campus Facilities Master Plan Update. The Trustees also join me in extending special thanks to the College’s Facilities Master Planning Steering Committee for their guidance of the work. This dedicated group of faculty, members of the administration, and trustees has been generous with its time and effective in developing a vision of our campus that respects our character and values, incorporates sustainability, and promises to enhance the unique living/learning environment of the College.

Even as we look forward to the next phase of improving our campus facilities, I am also pleased to report on the progress of the final project of Phase I of the original plan, the renovations of Roger Williams and Hedge Hall as new academic buildings. We have selected a contractor and we expect construction to begin in March, and so we are on schedule to move into the buildings in the summer of 2011. Again, my thanks to the faculty and members of the staff and administration whose hard work has made these exciting projects possible. Throughout this process, the contributions and support of the entire Bates community continues to be essential to our task of identifying and prioritizing the emerging needs of a leading liberal arts college and developing our distinctive strategies for meeting them.