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Construction on Campus

When some 2,000 students return to Smith soon, and as 775 new students move in to begin their college careers, they will all see a campus with some notable changes as several summer construction projects wind toward completion.

New equipment for preparing Kosher meat in the Cutter kitchen

In the Cutter-Ziskind residence, the kitchen has been transformed into a kosher/halal kitchen to accommodate students who adhere to kosher diets. The renovations include the construction of separate meat and dairy kitchens, a new dining room floor, new serving stations, and equipment for hand washing, and preparing meat and dairy products.

The new kosher kitchen was partly a result of a campus-wide dining review that aimed to provide students with more diverse options. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and one meal on Sunday, the kitchen will serve kosher meals along with traditional fare. The dining room will be pork-free and meals with red meat will be supplemented by halal meat that meets the highest standards of Muslim dietary laws.

Meanwhile across campus, the new Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) building is due for completion this month. The new childhood education center, a 10,500-square-foot construction on the grounds of the Lyman Estate at Fort Hill, will replace the former school located in the Fort Hill mansion as well as in three apartment units on the property.

The CECE serves more than 100 children each weekday, mostly from within the Smith community. Also, Smith students in education and child study often teach at the center.

Accompanying the new building at Fort Hill will be three new playground spaces designed in a naturalized style by Smith faculty, staff and students. Due for completion this fall, the playgrounds will possibly incorporate a theme of the progression of caterpillars to butterflies, a combination of references to the site’s history as the one-time home of Northampton’s silk mogul, the school’s curriculum, and the popular story books of local children’s author Eric Carle.

Many students will be affected by changes to McConnell Hall, which received some overdue updates during the summer to its airflow systems, as well as renovations of its basement and first-floor classrooms and labs, and the machine shop and lecture hall. McConnell, which was built in 1967 as part of the original Clark Science Center, houses the center’s busiest classrooms, as well as the computer science, physics and astronomy departments. Also, the technical machine shop resides in the McConnell basement.

The McConnell renovations, due for completion by the end of this month, will result in a building with state-of-the-art classrooms with audio-visual upgrades, including Internet projection capabilities, user-friendly lighting systems and versatile teaching spaces. The new, improved McConnell Auditorium will feature seats for 95 people with moveable furniture that can be adapted for different presentations.

Other summer projects include:

• Renovations in the basement of Wesley House, including the addition of a queer resource center, and a half-bathroom, kitchenette and lounge area with Internet access, as well as new carpet, painted walls and acoustical ceilings. Also, an accessible lift and a front entrance on Chapin Drive have been added to Wesley.

•New slate shingle roofs and copper gutters at Morris and Lawrence houses that should last for 50 years. Morris and Lawrence also received repairs to their chimneys.

•Renovation of the Tyler House kitchen.

Down the road will be a new building for Ada Comstock Scholars, located behind Talbot House, which will feature a sustainable design with triple-paned windows and thick, heavily insulated walls, enhancing the building’s energy efficiency. Construction of the building—which will include 10 units of at least two bedrooms each—will begin in October.
The Neilson Library will receive upgrades and replacements of its heating and cooling systems during the next two years.

Next year, work will begin on a transition in the Physical Plant to a co-generation power plant, in which several 60-year-old steam boilers will be replaced by a single turbine engine that will drive an electric generator. The generator will produce power for the college’s operation and steam for heating. The co-generation plant will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save $650,000 a year in electricity costs.

Also next year, Paradise Pond will be dredged, a project undertaken every eight years to avoid too much sediment from building up on the pond floor.



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