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It's Now Official: Ford Hall Under Construction

View a photo gallery of the groundbreaking

During the groundbreaking ceremony for Ford Hall on Oct. 19, one speaker jokingly noted that the event redefined the tradition that typically marks the start of construction by virtue of the fact that building construction has already begun.

Mary Patterson McPherson ’57, chair of the Smith College Board of Trustees, pointed to the progress at the construction site for the 140,000-square-foot facility along Green and Belmont streets, in making that assessment.

To accommodate the students, faculty, staff and trustees who gathered in the light rain for the hour-long ceremony, tents were erected on Belmont Street. And to accommodate the fact that construction had already begun, a dirt-filled box gave officials something to hoist in their ceremonial spades at the event. 

The slate of speakers at the 5 p.m. event included representatives from Smith College; Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, the building’s designer; and Ford Motor Company Fund, the donor for which the building is named.

Smith College President Carol T. Christ kicked off the event, and her remarks were followed by those of Jane Chace Carroll ’53, Smith College trustee and chair of the Trustee Buildings and Grounds Committee; and Natalie Gentile, senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects.

Also speaking were Smith faculty member Katherine J. Queeney, associate professor of chemistry; Linda E. Jones, director of the Picker Engineering Program; Andrew Acho, retired worldwide director of environmental outreach and strategy for Ford Motor Company; Emily Taylor ’08, president of the Student Government Association (SGA); and McPherson.

When completed in 2009, the building will serve as home to the Picker Engineering Program and to the departments of molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry and computer science.

A steel support beam signed by those who attended the groundbreaking ceremony will be integrated into the building.

Queeney said that the experience of being part of the design process for the $73 million facility has allowed many faculty members who were not at Smith when the current Science Center was built to offer input as to what will work best for them.

Also, Ford Hall will enable the Smith Picker Engineering Program, which last year graduated its 100th engineer, to be housed under a single roof.

Taylor noted that since the pioneering program began, offices and classrooms have been split between a temporary building – which she referred to as the “little green box” – and the College Club Annex.

“One of my best friends, a senior chemical engineering major, Briana, shared with me that, while she is very fond of the ‘little green box,’ Smith’s engineering program is ready to graduate to a bigger and better building, appropriately equipped for educating Smith women as they become engineers,” said Taylor. “Smithies are ready to embrace the newest addition to our campus and look forward to making the most of this facility upon its completion.”

10/22/07   By Kristen Cole
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