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Workers remove the roof from the back of Emerson Hall
Workers remove the roof from the back of Emerson Hall

New Construction and Renovation Under Way

By Mike Debraggio
Posted July 3, 2009
Tags Emerson Hall
Now that most Hamilton College students have left campus for the summer, the bulldozers, dump trucks and front-loaders have moved in. 

Even in a down economy, Hamilton will invest, on average, in excess of $1 million per month for the next year in construction projects. These include renovating and expanding one structure into a new student center and retrofitting a classroom building with upgraded heating and energy efficient features. New housing options are also being created in Milbank Hall and in the Bundy East and West Residence Halls, and the natural grass on Steuben Field is being replaced with an artificial surface. 

"Hamilton has a beautiful and historic campus, and it is important that it be maintained well and upgraded to support modern program needs," said Vice President for Administration and Finance Karen Leach. "We are in the process of implementing important strategic priorities and are investing carefully in the physical plant at the same time we increase expenditures for other priorities such as financial aid. By finding efficiencies across the college, we are determined to move forward prudently to provide the best and most complete educational experience for our students." 

Leach said Hamilton will spend about $3.5 million from the operating budget in maintenance projects during the 2009-10 fiscal year, with the balance in construction costs being paid with donations from alumni, parents and other friends of the college. She said the enhancements to the campus will benefit students and faculty, at the same time they provide a boost to the local economy. In most cases, the college uses local contractors on its construction projects. 

The largest project is the $10.7 million renovation and expansion of Emerson Hall into a student center. When completed in the fall of 2010, the new building will include a small café, bookstore, radio station, lounges, offices and meeting spaces for student clubs and organizations, and a large group gathering space. Hamilton Dean of Students Nancy Thompson envisions the new space as "the college's family room." 
[Photo Slideshow]

Several other projects are expected to be completed when students return to campus for classes at the end of August. They include: 

• Steuben Field Upgrade
– Using donations from alumni, parents and other friends of the college, the grass on Steuben Field will be replaced with an artificial grass surface for use by the football and men's and women's lacrosse teams, as well as the intramural sports program.
[Web cam | Photo Slideshow]

• Benedict Hall – In addition to installing a more energy-efficient heating system, this classroom building on the south end of the main quadrangle is receiving new windows and new entrance steps. Re-pointing of the exterior stone on the east side of the building is also in progress.
[Photo Slideshow]

• North and South Courts – These buildings, which date to the 1930s, are being removed to create a new green space and complete the construction of Martin's Way, the main pedestrian thoroughfare on campus.
[Photo Slideshow]

• Bundy East and West Residence Halls – The four, first-floor lounges in these two residence halls are being converted into apartment-style housing. Each former lounge will feature a small kitchen, private bathroom, living room and two double bedrooms. 
[Photo Slideshow]

A number of smaller projects are also on the summer docket, including painting the Chapel steeple and installing new carpet on the first floor, creating new senior studios in the List Art Center, renovating the floors in Commons Dining Hall, refurbishing the wood floors in Carnegie and South residence halls, and improving the fire sprinkler systems in Babbitt and Milbank residence halls.

This story appeared in the July issue of eNews.

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