Moving past the drawn-out construction process of the Roux Center for the Environment, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Matt Orlando says the Park Row Apartments will be ready for student occupancy as scheduled in the fall of 2019.
Renovations to convert Boody-Johnson House into a College House are also expected to be completed on time, allowing the building to be ready for inhabitants for the fall 2019 semester as well.
Despite the delay in completion of the Roux Center due to a statewide labor shortage, Orlando insisted that the College has factored this scarcity into the timeline for ongoing projects.
“We’re on schedule. The key will be to get the foundations poured before the frost hits, and those foundations will start going in really soon,” said Orlando.
Once the foundations have been poured, framing work can continue throughout the winter.
Orlando explained that, barring a one-in-every-50 year winter, weather conditions this winter shouldn’t be cause for delay.
“Framers are accustomed to working in winter conditions,” wrote Orlando in an email to the Orient. “We have a little bit of allowance for weather conditions.”
The Park Row Apartments are intended to create more desirable living spaces for upperclassmen, offering suite-style units with single bedrooms, kitchens and common areas. The site will boast four buildings with 22 beds each.
Between the 26 new beds at Boody-Johnson and the 88 new beds at Park Row, the College will have 114 new beds on campus. According to Orlando, the excess of beds will allow Bowdoin to renovate existing upperclass housing once Park Row Apartments are available for occupancy.
The construction and renovation of the two sites is indicative of the administration’s inclination to keep students living on campus. Bowdoin established a 200-person cap on the number of students who can live off campus for the first time for the 2017-2018 academic year, and the College has dropped that cap to 185 students for the 2018-2019 year.
The College has articulated an interest in building and maintaining a stronger upperclassmen community, as well as a wish to have more juniors and seniors engaged on campus, as the reasons for the housing projects. Empty beds due to the increase of students living off campus also became a financial burden for the school.
The College is also looking at renovating several non-residential buildings in the next few years. In addition to the construction of the new Schiller Coastal Studies Center and the completion of Whittier Field, which is expected to be completed by this coming February, Orlando mentioned upcoming renovations to the Visual Arts Center (VAC) and Druckenmiller Hall. The installation of an elevator to the third floor of the VAC is expected to take place during the summer of 2019.
Orlando said the College will most likely spread out the replacement of the air handling units in Druckenmiller Hall over the summers of 2019 and 2020 to avoid losing too much space during the summers.
“That’s going to take, for a number of weeks during the summer, half of Druckenmiller offline. So you take half of Druck off and the VAC off, you start to lose a lot of the teaching and research spaces—we have a lot going on with our summer programs,” Orlando said.
Park Row, Boody-Johnson, the VAC and Whittier Field are all expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year.