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Photo of new Purple Pub exterior

From iBerkshires:

Thanks to JeffZ for the link.


Stetson and the Chapin Library

From Wayne G. Hammond, who is a librarian at the Chapin Library of Rare Books:

Replying to multiple comments:

Stetson was built to hold the College Library, the Chapin Library, and faculty offices, built around a central stack core. In the fifties, the stacks were extended to the east, and in the sixties an annex was added which housed the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. When the College Library moved into the new Sawyer building in 1975, the Chapin Library and the original stacks remained intact but the stacks addition was divided into the small faculty offices Ronit mentions. It was this latter space that was the labyrinth; the original, 1923 building is relatively easy to navigate.

There are two formal facades, the one pictured on the west and another on the south, representing the two Stetson Hall libraries. The south door was the “Chapin Library entrance” as it’s nearest the grand staircase going up to the Chapin on the second floor (not the top: there are two floors more, with faculty offices and classrooms). There are inscribed names on both facades, an eclectic mix chosen by the architect.

Stetson is to be taken back to the 1923 building and generally restored, with a new Sawyer Library attached on the east: more can be read about the plans here. The upper floors will still have faculty offices and classrooms. The faculty lounge will revert to what it was designed to be, a grand reading room. The Preston Room will be dismantled and reconstructed within the new library. The Chapin Library will return to its original splendid rooms, connected to additional spaces in the new building, all shared with College Archives.

As for “opening again someday soon”, the Chapin and College Archives moved to temporary quarters in the old Southworth Schoolhouse (corner of Southworth and School streets) in July 2008 and reopened for business that September.

Wayne Hammond
Chapin Library


Williams Online

Let’s just say that this little post of Williams on Twitter ballooned a bit, shall we?

Ideas on how better can this post be organized?


Williams on Facebook:



Event Information/Calendars:



Go Green. Faster.

Do colleges and universities have a responsibility to Go Green at a faster rate than the rest of society? At least one funding body in the United Kingdom thinks so:

Launching a new consultation on how the higher education sector can reduce its carbon footprint, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) said universities should aspire to cutting emissions 50% by 2020 against 1990 levels, and 100% by 2050. The 2020 aspiration is much tougher than the government’s legally-binding target of reducing national emissions by 34% in the same time frame. The consultation also reiterates the government’s previous proposal to link universities’ funding to their greenhouse gas emissions reductions from 2011.

Diana Warwick, chief executive of Universities UK, which also worked on the proposals, said: “We support this goal. Universities, as educators, have been playing a vital role in moving the sustainability development agenda forward, and seeking a reduction in carbon emissions is key to this.”

While the study and story in question involves the UK, which has a different but hardly alien academic (and political) culture, surely the question pertains to academia generally and to Williams in the particular.

[note: comments 1, 2, 5, 6, and 12 below moved over from separate emissions discussion on Speak Up! – Ronit]


A New Spring Street?

So I know the Spring Street construction projects have been discussed at length here on Ephblog, but it really sunk in for me when I walked down to Tunnel City for coffee last Saturday. Construction/demolition has started (including a gaping hole where Subway/Purple Pub used to be), and notices have been posted on a few storefronts warning of further changes. It’s a little unnerving to think that by the time I graduate, Spring Street could have a totally different feel than when I first got here. So today I went out with my (low-quality, sorry!) camera and documented a few of these changes for those who aren’t able to see for themselves.

What was formerly the Purple Pub/ A Perfect Blend/ Subway- now a pile of rubble

What was formerly the Purple Pub/ A Perfect Blend/ Subway- now a pile of rubble

The space in between Lickety Split and the George Hopkins store (formerly the Hopkins Funeral Home(?))

The space in between Lickety Split and the George Hopkins store (formerly the Hopkins Funeral Home(?))


Note the planned changes underneath the coming soon sign (sorry about the glare)



Spring Street Demolition

From the Images Cinema blog:

The Hopkins Funeral Home is being demolished today. Also on the list to be demolished this week, the former Subway / Purple Pub building. hopkins

If anyone will be taking pictures of the Purple Cow in its last days of existence or during demolition, please post in this thread.


Stetson-Sawyer delayed

It’s official:

The complicated $80 million Williams College plan to attach a new library to Stetson Hall and tear down the existing library is on hold indefinitely.

When the project begins will depend on when the economy returns to stability, college officials said.

Those interesting in more information on the building project can attend Wednesday’s CC meeting, which will include a presentation by the Stetson-Sawyer committee. I think it very important that the student body look at these plans now – future generations of Ephs will have to live with our success or failure in getting the project right.

Readers may also want to see non-current versions of the construction documents, and this watercolor rendering of campus after the new library’s completion.

In other news, “infectiously idealistic members of the Williams College outing club” discussing “the possible salvation of the world” were featured in this New York Times article on travel in New Hampshire.


The Williams Campaign – Basic Questions about Finances

In the course of the tribute to President Schapiro that the College released today, penned by Trustee (and Presidential Search Committee Head) Greg Avis ’80, Avis noted that “The Williams Campaign surpassed its $400 million goal last year and in its final weeks is approaching $500 million.”

Until the recent financial crisis, I was not following the College’s finances closely. I would appreciate it if someone would answer a few questions to help me get a stronger foundation.

1) I believe that, while the College is on a fiscal year that ends in June, its fundraising campaigns are structured as being on a  calendar year. Does the quote from Avis mean that the College has raised nearly $500 million this calendar year (the reference to “last year” has me confused)? Is that all of its fundraising for calendar year 2008, or is it for a separate capital campaign to fund construction and perhaps other special programs (such as the earlier campaign to increase the endowment to fund the expansion of the faculty and thus enable the addition of more tutorials)? If it isn’t all of the fundraising, does anyone have any idea of how much else there might be and what it might be for?

2) (This is sickening.) Is it reasonable to assume that a third or more of the $500 million (and any other money raised this calendar year) has vanished into the black hole that has devoured a third or more of the endowment? Is it reasonable to assume that a good chunk of any year-end gifts might go the same way? 

3) The quote from Avis is quite upbeat, but does anyone know how the recent financial downturn has affected the fundraising stream at Williams? Except for my local food bank and food kitchen, every non-profit I know of is reporting that its fundraising intake is down dramatically for the whole calendar year and has slowed to a trickle in recent months.

4) How much money still needs to be raised for the construction projects (principally, the demolition of the Stetson additions, the construction of the new Sawyer, and the demolition of the old Sawyer)? Is this likely to be funded in a different way than the construction of the ’62 Center and Paresky (which involved issuing a considerable amount of debt)?

5) What do you think will happen when it comes time to set tuition for 2009-2010?


From Morty, on Economic Uncertainty

Morty just sent out an all campus e-mail listing three steps the college will take in response to the current financial crisis:

1) Postpone for a year the renovation of Weston Field and the remainder of the Stetson-Sawyer project. This will preserve capital, put off additional debt interest payments, and provide time to better understand the depth and breadth of the economic downturn.

2) Reduce spending on other facilities renewal by around $3 million. We have very little deferred maintenance, so pushing some of this work off to the future makes sense when times are tight.

3) Not fill newly open positions except those deemed most essential…

Read the whole thing after the jump. Read more


Stetson-Sawyer Pictures

Go here. Looks like construction is complete.


Stetson-Sawyer Blog

Check out the new blog on the Stetson-Sawyer project, as well as the homepage for the forthcoming (and very cool looking) Center for Media Initiatives. 


Stetson-Sawyer update

Recent pictures of the two new academic buildings going up on either side of Sawyer Library have been uploaded here. (The resolution is fairly high, so be prepared for a wait if your Internet connection is sluggish.) The construction is going well, and delivery of the buildings is currently expected to be on time: early July for the North Academic Building and roughly mid-July for its partner to the south. The expected move-in date for faculty and staff remains mid-August.

If you need to be reminded about what all this will look like when Sawyer Library is razed in 2013, click here.


Stunning view


Stetson-Sawyer is promised to have stunning views of the mountains, and it is clear from this picture that the autumn season will be especially beautiful.


Future switch


It is a little strange to think that in a few years, the one on the left will be gone and the one on the right will be brick.


Sawyer Lawn


The skyline in this area is dominated by a large crane, which was probably instrumental in raising the large steel beams that you see on the right of the picture.


Traffic aid


This mirror is apparently necessary for the safety of those driving at the corner of the construction near Dodd. Left turn only: only towards Mission; no driving towards Dodd! It does seem a bit out of place.

P.S. This is the second time a photo has doubled as a self-portrait, the first time being here.


South Side of Stetson-Sawyer


I took this from the steps of Hopkins Hall. This area of campus has been a construction zone for a long time, it seems, though I recall some nice all-campus picnics held there in the first few years I was at Williams. You can also see the north side construction to the right of Sawyer.


The Wasteland


This is the view from roughly between Lehman and Dodd, through the fence. Stetson and the top of the chapel are visible in the background. It gives you a sense of the impact of the new building on this part of campus.

There is another, less good picture taken through a nearby gap in the fence, in the extended entry.

Read more


No Man’s Land


I don’t know who put up this sign — workers, administration, students? But I like it.


A new roofline between Brooks-Rogers and Sawyer


From Baxter Lawn, a new peak is visible between the two existing buildings (behind the tree). It is just a skeleton now; it will be interesting to see how the rooflines interact once Stetson-Sawyer is complete (and once Sawyer is gone).


Stetson-Sawyer north side, from Rt 2


The construction is quite visible from Route 2, but much less has been done than on the north side.

P.S. Jonathan, notice how nicely this picture is framed with leaves in the corners.


Stetson-Sawyer: Four stories by Dodd


I took this picture from the path between Stetson and Dodd, by the Economics department house. According to alums I spoke with, no construction had started when they were at Williams for reunions in June, so this four-story steel structure has emerged just over the summer.


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