MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – From Mead Chapel to the Natatorium and back across campus to Coffrin Hall, renovation and maintenance projects large and small are keeping Facilities Services and local building contractors busy this summer.
Middlebury College’s iconic Mead Chapel, built in 1900, now has a state-of-the-art fire detection and alarm system that complies with nationally recognized guidelines. Installed this summer, it replaces an antiquated system that was sufficient but not up to current standards.
The Natatorium, the College’s 18-lane swimming pool built in 1997, was taken offline in the late spring and its 675,000 gallons of water were slowly drained into the town’s sewer system. A firm from Barre, Vt., then took on the painstaking task of removing all of the grout between the tiles, deep cleaning every surface, and installing new grout – a once-every-decade project. The pumps, heaters, and filters were also serviced, and the pool was refilled and back online in July.
Coffrin Hall, one of Middlebury’s largest student residences, is in the midst of a multi-year renovation to improve the building’s energy efficiency. This summer the west-facing dormer windows were replaced, sections of the roof were reworked, and the attic space was reinsulated to create a more efficient thermal envelope. In the summer of 2018, Facilities Services plans to renovate the east-facing dormers in the 32-year-old building.
Two of Middlebury’s smaller student residences, Jewett House on South Main Street and Sperry House on Franklin Street, were extensively renovated this summer. Interior walls were moved to convert all of the bedrooms from doubles to singles (with no loss of beds) and the ground floors of both structures were made ADA-compliant with one fully accessible bedroom and bath, wider doorways and hallways, new kitchens, and an exterior ramp.
Voter Hall is the site of two summer renovation projects, one on the basement level and the other on the upper two floors. Facilities Services is renovating the Department of Arabic’s space by converting a meeting room into an Arabic library for faculty and students, and by installing an ADA-compliant bathroom. Meanwhile, on the top two floors of Voter, the windows are being replaced with energy-efficient glass and the kitchenettes in the five, two-level suites are getting upgraded.
At the May Belle Chellis House – where the Women’s Resource Center and the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies are based – the Alison Fraker Library was moved from the second floor to the first floor, and two new faculty offices were added to the second level.
The deaerator at the Central Heating Plant is an essential component in the College’s feed water treatment system that needs to be taken offline every three years for inspection, metallurgy testing, and cleaning. A large mechanical device inside a metal tank, the deaerator removes oxygen and other dissolved gases from the feed water in steam-generating boilers.
On Hillcrest Road, the College and the Town of Middlebury are cooperating on a project to replace a water main, improve drainage, and repave the roadway.
Other renovation and maintenance projects – such as painting, floor refinishing, and lighting improvements – are also ongoing this summer. In all, the maintenance and renovation budget for the summer is in excess of $3 million, said Mike Moser, director of facilities services.