The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to convert Longfellow Elementary School into a studio art and dance space during its annual meeting over Homecoming Weekend. The board also discussed a proposed upgrade to the College’s network, although the topic was not brought to an official vote.
“It was very much a business as usual meeting and an update to the trustees about what was happening on campus,” said President Mills.
The College acquired the Longfellow property last year when it reached an agreement with the Town of Brunswick to exchange the first two floors of the McLellan Building for the now-vacant Longfellow school.
“The Longfellow arts building will bring together everything that’s not in the [Visual Arts Center],” said President of Bowdoin Student Government Dani Chediak, who is the student representative on the Board of Trustees executive committee.
Mills said that he anticipates construction on the school to begin this November. According to Katy Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, the proposed project budget is approximately $6 million.
The trustees also discussed another $6 million proposal. Information Technology (IT) plans to upgrade the College’s networking system and move the data center from the basement of Hubbard Hall to the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.
Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis explained that older parts of the College’s network are unable to support the latest version of the Internet Protocol, the communications system on which the entire Internet is built. Although the College’s wireless network received a major upgrade last year, IT now seeks to replace the nine-year-old hardwired network switches.
“When we originally put the network in, we were hoping to get it to last eight to 10 years, which was way beyond what most projected we could do,” said Davis. “Most networks last about three to five years. Ours has lasted nine.”
Davis added that the proposed upgrade would enable the system to support “new network protocols and devices” and bring “Bowdoin up to standards that we need in order to interact with a global society.”
In addition to the full board meeting, all trustee committees met last weekend.
The admissions and financial aid committee met to discuss “a range of strategic and operational matters,” according to Dean of Admissions Scott Meiklejohn.
In addition, the student affairs committee hosted a panel on concussions. Dean of Student Affairs Margaret Hazlett, who moderated the panel, said that the committee chose to focus on concussions because the issue has recently been prominent in the national news.
She added that it is “helpful for trustees to understand how the College addresses this medical issue.”
The board concluded its session early Saturday morning in order to watch trustee Ellen Shuman ’76 be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor. The Board of Trustees will reconvene twice more during the academic year in February and April.