December 24, 1997

Middlebury College Update

Not long ago, Middlebury College announced a $200 million goal for its Bicentennial Campaign. Approximately $50 million of that total will be allocated to help fund $210 million in physical improvements to the campus. Some of these improvements are already underway.

Bicentennial Hall, for which construction started last spring, is the most ambitious building project the College has ever undertaken. This 108,000-square-foot, $47.5 million science facility progressed quickly due to the fine weather we enjoyed during the fall. Foundations are in place and pre-cast concrete wall sections are currently being put into place, giving the building more definition. The facility will eventually rise six stories above its lower level entryway on the west side of the building. Bicentennial Way, a new street that starts at Route 125 west of the campus and ends in a parking lot near the building, will provide automobile access. From the campus, the building will be entered at the third-floor level, traveling through a "great hall" which affords a spectacular view of the Adirondack Mountains framed within the extensive western window. Bicentennial Hall is scheduled for completion in the year 2000, the year of the College's 200th anniversary.

Another building project started in late summer will complete the second phase of the College's athletic master plan. At some point during their 1998-99 seasons, the Middlebury men's and women's hockey teams will take the ice in a magnificent new arena that will seat about 2300 spectators. The rink will be entered through a spacious entryway that will also serve as a gallery where artifacts from Middlebury's sports history will be on display. Part of this space will also serve as a common area linking the hockey arena with the recently completed natatorium, a swimming and diving facility that was completed about a year ago.

Three new student residences located in the wooded area at the western edge of the campus are nearly completed. The new housing units, each capable of housing 30 students, are expected to be ready for occupancy during the winter term. A fourth facility is planned for completion in the spring.

Two more projects should be mentioned as well: a recently completed women's softball field located off South Street, which will be the home field for Middlebury's newest intercollegiate sports team; and a renovation project to convert the former swimming pool area in the McCullough student center to a "grille" where a variety of food and beverage items will be available during evening and late-night hours. This project also provides space under one roof for a game room, juice bar, a small stage for cabaret-type performances, a television viewing room, a convenience store, and a billiard pavilion.

And finally, the changes to College Street, which required Route 125 commuters to negotiate a slalom course of sorts last summer has improved the safety of pedestrians crossing College Street in the vicinity of the campus. Several "neck-downs" and crosswalks were created to slow down motorists and provide obvious points for students and others to cross the street. Lighting was significantly improved along the street and a sidewalk bordered by a stone wall was constructed to improve pedestrian access to the student parking lot at the western edge of campus.