A new parking system that promotes a “park once” approach took effect at the College on August 27, one of many changes which greeted students arriving on campus this fall. Developed according to the recommendations of a hired parking consultant, the policy encourages students to leave their vehicles in one place and walk or bike around campus for the day.
The parking consultancy conducted research last semester to gauge vehicular use and determined that the College has adequate parking, but needs to make better use of it. In their observations of driving behavior, they noticed that students with cars repeatedly circled the campus.
“They’d see people drive from Farley into Thorne for lunch, park at the admissions lot, eat lunch, then drive somewhere else for class,” said Katy Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration & treasurer. “Students shouldn’t use their cars to get around campus, but use them for other purposes.”
The College is already taking measures to make campus more friendly to walkers. A new sidewalk on Bath Road makes it possible for students to walk the perimeter of campus, and plans are underway for new sidewalks on Coffin Street and other areas.
The list of summer improvements to campus includes expansive replacements and repairs to the underground steam pipe system that runs below the Quad, a new slate roof on Hubbard Hall, a refinished floor in Morrell Gym, completion of a cyber security classroom in Searles, and new skylights in the Walker Art Building.
Facilities Management also reduced parts of the grassy Quad to wide patches of dirt this summer, one step among several in the effort to improve, redesign and reorganize the College.
Energy conservation was a key consideration during construction. Facilities switched ten buildings to natural gas heating, upgraded lighting, and weatherized rental properties. These changes should help the College reach carbon neutrality by 2020.
The most noticeable structural changes to campus are the landscaping projects at the Chapel and around the first year bricks.
Security will step up its parking enforcement in order to ensure that the parking system functions according to plan.
“You can’t do all of this without some measure of enforcement, so safety and security is trying to monitor the lots and make sure the students park in student lots and staff park in staff lots,” said Longley.
Some students with cars are dismayed by the parking changes, bemoaning the fact that they must walk to class when they once could drive.
Others point out kinks in the system that still must be resolved.
“I got a parking ticket in the first week of school for parking at Harpswell, and I live there,” said Alex Thompson ’13. “That’s over the top.”
The staff at Hawthorne-Longfellow Library (H-L) has also been busy with reorganization. Two offices have moved to the first floor, and equipment and collections will move to make space for new study areas.
The microfilm and microfiche collections, along with their digital scanner and reader/printer machines, have been relocated to the back of the basement level, enabling library staff to convert their former location to a first floor study area.
This new study room, currently furnished with temporary seating and desks, will be enhanced in the coming weeks by the addition of individual carrels, a group study table, and comfortable seating. Original, library-themed photography by James Boeding ’14 will decorate the walls of this study space.
“We are conscious of wanting to create a welcoming space for the students,” said Leanne Pander, a public services librarian at H-L. “Our move and reorganization is meant to keep that in mind.”
A second group study space is being set up in the basement, which is also the new home for the media center.
“The improvements are really starting to come together,” said Karina Graeter ’14. “More seating and study areas should make library group work much less hectic.”