House construction hits snags
Jackhammers at 7 a.m., torn up sidewalks, and displaced students have
all characterized the college house renovations so far this semester.
The three foci of the renovations have been MacMillan House, Ladd House,
and Howell House with an emphasis placed upon the completion of Ladd House.
As Ladd students returned to their intended residence late August, they
were informed that their house was neither ready to move into nor would
be for at least a month. Furthermore, MacMillan house, the house the students
were to live in for the duration of the month, was not yet available for
occupancy. This left Residential Life with no option but to place students
in temporary rooms in Stowe Inn and Coles Tower.
According to Bob Graves, director of Residential Life, one of the major reasons for the delays was the labor crunch in Maine.
"Right now, Maine has a tight construction market and contractors
and subcontractors had a hard time meeting deadlines due to the shortage
of labor," he explained. In fact, to step up the construction to
MacMillan House, construction workers were pulled from the Ladd House
project and reassigned to MacMillan.
When asked about the students' response to the delays, Graves enthused
that "students have been fantastic given the circumstances."
He noted that Residential Life changed plans on people a lot, but "tried
to do the best that [they] could," and went on to cite their creative
decision to convert Howell's study into a bedroom. Graves specifically
praised Ladd for rallying together and making the best of an inconvenient
The degree of renovation to the college houses has varied from minor
to dramatic. Howell House, originally slated to undergo renovations this
semester, will instead be revamped next semester, and its residents will
move to MacMillan House. After negotiations this summer, the house was
approved for occupancy without the requirement of an elevator, which translated
into less extensive construction. Ladd House and MacMillan house, two
former fraternities, have both undergone more significant alterations.
In Ladd, a kitchen for students was installed in addition to the commercial
kitchen already present; an elevator was also added for handicap access.
The house also now contains hardwood floors in both the living room and
the study. Both Ladd and MacMillan were rewired for a better internet
connection, and the heating system was upgraded.
Once the renovations to the college houses are finally completed, Bowdoin
will turn its eye to the possibility of additional social houses, as well
as the renovation of the first year dorms.