Campus keeps expanding

Maggie Allen

A construction worker breaks ground on the Maxey Hall renovations. The expansion is set to be ready for the fall 2010 semester. Credit: Van Neste
A construction worker breaks ground on the Maxey Hall renovations. The expansion is set to be ready for the fall 2010 semester. Credit: Van Neste

Returning to campus in August, students discovered a completed Sherwood Center and Olin Hall. They may have been more surprised to find Maxey Hall being expanded and renovated.

Eighteen additional office spaces will be added to Maxey in the 11,000-square foot expansion. There will also be four additional classrooms and three student lounge spaces. Receiving $5.2 million from a bond the college issued over a year ago, the work began in June and will be completed in August 2010.

“I think overall construction is going smoothly,” Kathleen Hutchison, Division I Assistant, said. “With construction, there are always unexpected problems you run into, but I’m impressed with the construction crew that we have and I think things are moving along really well.”

The renovated building will also have more faculty offices and increased space for psychological research.

“The building was constructed in 1976 and we have run out of room,” said Peter Harvey, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.

In addition to the expansion, new lights, ceilings, carpet, and fire sprinklers will be added.

The only major disadvantage for Maxey faculty is the fact that many had to move to Olin until construction is completed.

“The offices are smaller here than they were in Maxey, and I think that has been the biggest change for the faculty,” said Pat Sorenson, Division II assistant.

“It’s not fun to move,” Hutchinson said, “But [the faculty] knew that the end product is going to be a lot better. They’ll move back, and we miss them.”

There is an upside to the temporary faculty office relocations.

“We’ve had both the Maxey and Olin faculty say that this move has actually been really good because they have had more contact between buildings than they usually do,” Sorenson said.

Faculty such as Professor of Economics Denise Hazlett feel the move has been easy due to help from staff.

“The move went smoothly,” Hazlett said. “In the middle of [construction], you do wonder if it’s worth it. But Maxey was in such bad shape that we were desperate. [Moving to Olin] is a chance to see other people I wouldn’t.”

“It will be sad when the Maxey faculty move back,” Sorenson agreed.

Glover Alston Center coming along

Maxey isn’t the only building undergoing construction at the moment.

“We’re also looking forward to the Glover Alston Center, being renovated on Boyer Street,” said Associate to the President Jed Schwendiman.

Also known as the Multicultural House, the Glover Alston Center was formerly used by senior art majors as a studio space. With the Fouts Center for Visual Arts complete, there will soon be a space for multicultural events, programs and some classes.

Fourteen clubs will utilize the center, which will have a kitchen and a large area for events.

“In addition to being a great place for Intercultural Center affiliated clubs to hold programs, meetings and events, we hope to create a space that will feel comfortable as a hang out space for international students and their friends, and a place where campus dialogue about a wide range of diversity issues can take place,” Schwendiman said.

Located between the dance studio and Boyer House, the house should be complete in November, with a bigger opening in either December or January.

The Glover Alston Center will serve as a resource for campus organizations, a social and academic space for collaboration between members of the Whitman community, an open space for meditation, among other purposes.

“The house welcomes and supports differences, encourages input from all perspectives, enhances intercultural awareness, and respect for all in the Whitman community,” the Center’s mission statement, composed in April, said.

With the great success of Sherwood and Olin, the future looks promising for these new projects.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Hutchison said.