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News & Events for the Smith College Community
New Neilson February 14, 2019

New Neilson Library Takes Shape

Construction workers on scaffolding around Neilson wall

By the end of March, the structure of a new Neilson Library will become more visible, as steel beams and brick masonry are installed on the site.

“We will be working one floor at a time, north to south,” says Charlie Conant, senior project manager in Facilities Management. “By the time students are here next fall, we’ll be installing the roofing on the new building.”

The construction of a new Neilson—Smith’s largest capital project in more than a decade—remains on schedule for the fall of 2020. A new library envisioned by designer Maya Lin preserves the core masonry walls of the 1909 Neilson, while reimagining the library complex with two new “jewel box” wings and an innovative, energy-efficient design.

Here’s what else is new with the library project:

  • Over the next few weeks, the contractor will complete the concrete foundations that precede the installation of structural steel.
  • Smith community members can expect to see a few more tractor trailer trucks and large cranes on central campus throughout the spring and summer during delivery and installation of structural steel beams.
  • Masonry contractors have begun putting up brick walls to replace those lost in a March 2018 cornice overturn on the library’s west pavilion.
  • Work has also begun on an underground pedestrian connector between the new Neilson and Alumnae Gym.
  • While the noisiest portion of the library project—the removal of the old building’s wings and interior—is past, Facilities Management will continue to ensure that construction activities accommodate quiet study periods and exams.
  • New architectural renderings featuring floor plans and building materials will be available in the coming months.

For the latest updates on Neilson construction, visit and click on the blue “join group” button. For a central campus vehicle/pedestrian route map, visit, and for details about library services during construction, go to