Starting in early to mid-June, the tennis courts behind Atwater dining hall will be bulldozed in order to create new parking in E-lot. The new parking will replace the space lost due to construction of the temporary computer science building located behind Johnson Memorial Building.
John McLeod, a professor of architecture whose downtown firm on Frog Hollow Alley is designing the building, said that the once the courts are bulldozed, part of the area will become parking and the other portion will be converted to grass.
The Atwater area originally had six tennis courts, four of which were removed when the dining hall was built. The two remaining courts are used recreationally.
The project is currently pending approval under State of Vermont Act 250 considering land use and environmental permitting standards. Upon consent, the courts will be bulldozed following commencement and reunion and the new parking will be available for use starting in the fall of 2018.
Tom McGinn, project manager, describes the new computer science building as an “interim academic space.” The project was initially introduced as a temporary space and was potentially going to house trailers. However, as the project developed, it was decided that it was more practical to construct a longer-lasting building.
The building will consist of mainly metal material and will thus have a life of between 25-30 years. After this time, the building could be restored or, because it will use “very little non-recyclable content,” it could be moved or recycled.
McGinn explains that the new building will allow the college “to renovate existing buildings and to expand the Bi Hall programs.”
The building will house the computer science department on the top floor and office space on the floor below. Departments from different buildings will be moved into this space while their current building is renovated. This process will start with the faculty in Munroe Hall during the fall of 2019. Over the course of about eight years, other buildings including Warner Hall, the Adirondack House and potentially the Johnson Memorial Building will go through the same process.
Once this process is completed, McGinn explains that the space can be “easily reconfigured” and repurposed for many potential uses.
McGinn said that the new building is part of a campus-wide initiative “to see how well we are utilizing our existing space and how we could utilize it better.” Middlebury has contracted Biddison Hier Limited, a company which helps colleges and universities with resource planning and management. Biddison Hier is currently performing a campus space utilization study, which is analyzing classroom, residential and dining space with hopes of determining what permanent buildings should be constructed in the future.