Smith’s preeminent position in science
education is broadly acknowledged, with 30 percent of our students majoring in the
sciences. The Picker Engineering
Program has grown quickly from an entering class of 20 in 2000 to some 100 majors
and intended majors in 2008, and 118 students have graduated from the program.
Smith’s existing science facilities date from the 1960s. Recent studies have shown that, when compared to peer institutions, the sciences at Smith have a deficit of 46,000 square feet of space, excluding engineering, to meet existing program needs. The college’s science expansion plans are intended to address this shortage of space as well as the need for effective, appropriate and safe facilities.
Over the years, Smith's campus
has expanded incrementally to accommodate
growth in its student population and facilities required
by new programming. But compared to many of the colleges
with which it competes, Smith is still at a disadvantage
in terms of campus acreage per student, and there is not
enough developable square footage within the current campus
to meet the programmatic needs of the sciences.
View a chart showing
relative campus acreage >
Planning studies have confirmed
that 400,000 square feet of space are needed for new science
facilities. New construction is taking place in the Green Street/West
Street area. Ford Hall, a $73 million, 140,000-square-foot
facility to accommodate engineering, computer science, molecular
biology, chemistry and biochemistry, is located at Green
Street and Belmont Avenue. It is supported by a $10 million
leadership gift from Ford Motor Company Fund. Smith broke ground for
this facility in the fall of 2007, and the building will open for classes in early
2010. Additional buildings have been envisioned as part of a long-term science and engineering
View of Ford Hall, Smith's new building for the
sciences and engineering, from Belmont Avenue; the college's
Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts is shown at the right.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects.