The recent renovation of the first-year brick entrances is just the first step toward a broader redesign of the entire College. The creation of a new entrance to Moulton Union and renovations to the Longfellow School are next on the agenda.
Facilities Management will work with private architectural firms to develop the renovation.
Stephen Stimson is one architect working with the College to design these renovations. He made several recommendations for improvement to campus.
“We had a recommendation to move the [College’s] main entrance to College Street, but we would need to slow down traffic, put in more generous lighting, and put in a brick gate,” said Katy Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration.
To slow down traffic, the College would have to construct a speed table, or flat-topped speed hump, designed to give the appearance of cobblestones in place of a regular paved road.
Lauren Todd, Stimson’s associate landscape designer, added that the architects also have plans to renovate the inside of the Longfellow School and turn it into a new visual arts center, switching the direction of its entrance, and finding a solution to remove site water.
“We want to use either a rain garden or a bio-swale to get rid of street runoff from cars and use plants to cleanse the runoff, instead of putting dirty water into a catch-basin and dumping it into the Androscoggin River,” said Todd, emphasizing the firm’s desire to actualize Bowdoin’s ethic of environmental sustainability.
The team’s final goals are to renovate and landscape outside the Harriet Beecher Stowe House off Federal Street and to make major changes to the entrance of the dining hall in Moulton Union.
“We’re doing conceptual studies there right now,” said Todd. “There’s an opportunity to really open up what is now a pit. We would take down that retaining wall that hides Moulton to allow light in and add a series of terraces, or what you could call an amphitheater that brings you down into the building.”
Facilities Management anticipates a positive response to the upcoming renovation, given the feedback they have received after this summer’s landscaping projects, which included resurfacing the area outside the chapel, and adding benches, bike racks and plants around the first-year bricks.
“The concept behind both projects is that the Quad is this iconic site with a historical landscape,” Todd said. “We want to create thresholds that you feel like you’re passing through to get to the Quad.”
Stimson Associates accomplished this through planting native plants and recycling old granite, mixed with new, local New England granite for the terraces.
“We wanted to take cues from what you already have here,” said Todd. “There are the old historic buildings and the museum, mixed with the modern glass box entrance, creating a contrast of rustic and modern.”
Todd says that she and her team also make use of these recycled materials in order to maintain their goal for sustainability, which Longley emphasized as a priority of the College.
“We have a pretty active tree-planting plan,” said Longley. “The life of the trees on the Quad are all about the same, so as we remove old dying trees, we’ve been pretty strategic in placing in new ones.”
Stimson Associates and Bowdoin will join forces again in summer 2013 to begin the construction of these upcoming projects.
“We have not priced it yet, but we will know soon,” Longley said. “Brunswick will be partially financing the College Street improvements, but I guess you could say these are a part of a larger landscaping project of approximately two million dollars.”
The College budgets about $4.5 million for maintenance work each summer, which includes some landscaping.
This amount, she says, is in tune with President Barry Mills’ philosophy regarding construction projects during an economic downturn.
“We’re not building 30 million dollar buildings, so what we’re doing instead is creating smaller, more modest projects to improve the beauty of our campus,” said Longley.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Katy Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration, as having said that the Town of Brunswick would contribute funds to improvements to the Longfellow School. The Town will help fund improvements to College Street, not to the newly acquired Longfellow property. The article also originally stated that the annual $4.5 million budget for summer maintenance would go toward the landscaping project, though only a small portion of those funds will contribute to the renovations. These errors have been corrected in the online article.-->