Summer construction is officially under way on the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, a 30,000-square-foot museum and teaching facility to be located at the corner of College Hill and Griffin Roads.
Construction began with the demolition of 210 College Hill Road, which housed the offices of faculty members in the Philosophy Department (the department offices will move to 202 College Hill Road). Workers also installed construction site fencing and a temporary bypass road into Dunham parking lot from Griffin Road.
The museum is one of a number of new arts facilities that will be constructed on the west side of campus as part of Hamilton’s $117 million Bicentennial Initiatives campaign. In addition to the museum, the arts center will feature a theatre complex and a studio arts building. A $10 million lead gift from Hamilton trustee Keith Wellin '50 and his wife, Wendy, made the early construction possible. The building is named in honor of Wellin’s parents, and is hoped to function as a “creative ‘teaching laboratory’ where students ask questions, make connections to disciplines beyond the arts and develop visual literacy skills.”
The first floor of the museum will feature a large exhibition space and an archive hall, which will provide access for students and faculty to a major portion of the Hamilton collection. The second floor will hold several offices, a student lounge overlooking the sculpture courtyard on the north terrace, and a 48-seat classroom tailored to the needs of courses in film study.
Work on the museum will continue through the summer and the upcoming academic year, with completion scheduled for late July/early August of 2012, in time for the 2012-13 academic year. Associate Vice President of Facilities and Planning Steve Bellona says that while the contractors will continue to work diligently during the fall and spring, the impact of the construction on the rest of campus should be minimal and localized. The small section of the sidewalk on the north side of College Hill Road will be closed during construction, and access to Dunham parking lot and the Campus Safety offices will be from Griffin Road.
The campus is bustling with a variety of other smaller construction efforts: A sidewalk is being constructed from Dunham Residence Hall to the Griffin Road Apartments, repairs are being made on the pedestrian bridge connecting Kirner-Johnson and Beinecke Village, with completion expected in early August. Replacement of the windows on the summer porch and Events Barn is also in progress. The stage floor of Wellin Hall is being refinished and exterior repairs are being made to the Clancy Connell Alumni Center, Molly Root House and Couper Hall.
Bathrooms in Keehn and Carnegie Residence Halls are being renovated, and chimneys are being repaired on Dunham and Eells Residence Halls. Installation was recently completed on new cooling coils in the Burke Library, and the system is now operational.