Campus News

Construction Update: Current Renovation Projects on Track

Story posted March 08, 2006

Sneak a peek through the green construction site fencing surrounding the Bowdoin College Museum of Art this early-March day, and you may wonder if the renovation plan calls for a moat.

But a closer look into the gaping hole on the quad side of the Walker Art Building reveals something much more intriguing: the construction of the foundation for the Museum's new underground spaces, and the steel structural support for the grand staircase. The rebuilding of the plinth and the steps will commence soon, reports Don Borkowski, director of capital projects.

All four of Bowdoin's current renovation projects -- the Walker Art Building, the Curtis Pool building, and Appleton and Hyde residence halls -- are progressing smoothly, and each is on track to be completed in time for planned occupancy. While winter construction always presents obstacles, the relatively mild winter of 2005-06 has allowed for more work time -- and even saved on heat for interior work spaces.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Reinstallation of the Museum's grand staircase will commence in the coming weeks. (Photo: March 6, 2006.)

Ground was broken on the $20 million Walker Art Building renovation in May 2005, and the project is on schedule. The design calls for the lowering of the bottom level: a long and drawn-out process involving both the floor and the foundation, which is now complete. Selected demolition inside continues, as does the installation of concrete footings for the new additions.

The Museum steps, temporarily removed in accordance with the construction plan, are currently in storage in Jefferson, Maine. A stonecutter is fashioning new blocks to replace those few that were damaged beyond repair. By the end of March, a flatbed truck will transport the steps' enormous granite and limestone blocks back to campus. The staircase will be reinstalled on the Walker Art Building's facade during April, and be in place for the May 27, 2006, Commencement exercises.

Interior renovation is scheduled to be completed by early 2007. The process of moving artwork back into the Museum -- which will take about three months -- will begin in March 2007. Select exhibitions will be on view in time for Commencement 2007, and the building is expected to be open to the public for the summer. An official gala event, celebrating the Museum's re-opening, is scheduled for October 2007.

Recital Hall

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Interior demolition is ongoing in the Curtis Pool building. (Photo: March 6, 2006.)

Conversion of the Curtis Pool building into a 290-seat state-of-the-art Recital Hall began in September 2005. The project is on track to be completed by April 1, 2007.

With the air full of dust and the pool full of rubble, interior demolition, structural underpinning, and exterior excavation is proceeding. According to the building's original design, the pool structure itself held the building walls in place. Now, as the pool is removed, new support for the walls is being installed.

The connector between Sargent Gym and Curtis Pool has been taken out to make way for a new addition, including a mechanical room. "Tie-backs" -- thick, 10-foot-long screws, pieced together in fours for a total length of 40 feet -- are being inserted under Sargent Gym to anchor the new support system. Once each tie-back is installed, grout will be injected to fill any voids and lock in the support. Tie-backs will be inserted at intervals around the structure, each secured by a giant nut and capped off with a steel plate.

Appleton and Hyde Halls

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Building the roof structure on one of the Bricks. (Photo: January 2006.)

The renovations to "The Bricks" -- Bowdoin's six historic first-year residence halls -- began in September 2005 with Appleton and Hyde halls first on the docket (all six buildings will be completed by August 2007).

Work on Hyde Hall, the interior of which was completely gutted, is about a month behind Appleton. While Hyde's interior and roof structure are now in place, installation of the floor slabs is in progress. In Appleton, new framing is completed, the new roof structure is in finished, and the chimneys have been rebuilt. The new copper roof is now being installed. Duct, electrical and plumbing work are ongoing, and sheetrock is being primed.

Appleton is on track to be completed in May 2006, with Hyde's completion set for June 2006. Both buildings will be ready for occupancy in August 2006.

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