Carleton Announces New Residence Hall Plans, Updates On Arts Center

December 14, 2007

Northfield, Minn.—Carleton College recently provided an update on emerging plans to construct a new residence hall on the east side of its campus. The College also presented additional details regarding its new visual arts center, to be located at the former Northfield middle/high school site.

The update follows the College’s June announcement of a new residence hall with the selection of the building site, which is located south of the Language and Dining Center and north of First Street. The new information was shared with community members at a recent open meeting sponsored by Carleton’s advisory council on community relations.

The schematic design of the new residence hall is nearing completion by LHB Architects of Minneapolis and the project will soon move into the design development phase. The design will enhance the vista down Maple Street and will be “significant” and timeless in style, according to Steven Spehn, Carleton’s director of facilities and capital planning. The project is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ levels of either Gold or Silver levels of sustainability and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2009. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2008.

At present, the plan is for the new residence hall to house between 190-210 students in two buildings, one with suite-style units and the second with more traditional dorm-style units.

The Twin Cities-based architectural firm Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle has completed more than 50 percent of the schematic design for Carleton’s new arts center, located at the site of the former Northfield middle/high school, and plans to present a completed design in February 2008. The project will have multiple phases. The schematic design process will identify which parts of the new facility and building site will be developed in the first phase. Current ideas for the first phase include renovation of the 1910 building, demolition of the 1954 cafeteria with new construction, and either re-use of the remaining 1954 wing structure with new exterior and interior or demolition of the entire wing and new construction. Subsequent phases will re-program the use of the 1934 auditorium and 1954 gym. Design plans also include new construction to enclose the space in between the buildings to create an atrium-type space. The College is concurrently working with its contractor, McGough, to refine cost estimates as design work develops and will look to the Carleton Board of Trustees for direction to proceed after that group’s 2008 February meeting.

In other facilities news, the College’s wind turbine was down for repairs most of October and November, but after replacing a faulty gearbox it is now back on-line. The main gearbox failed and was replaced with the help of a very large crane. The crane was disassembled in late November and hauled out in 25 truckloads.

As a follow-up to the successful completion of the first phase of an electrical infrastructure upgrade project, completed in the fall of 2006, the second phase of the project was initiated in September with expected completion by the end of 2008. The first phase provided an upgrade of the north half of campus, and the second phase will complete the remaining south half of campus. Once completed, the primary campus distribution loop will run at 13,800 volts, which will easily be compatible with future supplemental forms of generation, such as full-campus back-up generators, wind turbines, and other new but unknown energy sources or technologies. The second phase involves running new underground lines to West Gym and Laird Stadium, as well as a new steam/condensate line. The project also involves the construction of a new, and much larger, electrical vault at the southwest corner of Willis Hall, as well as new distribution (via the tunnel systems) to, and electrical metering for, Sayles-Hill, Severance Hall, Willis Hall, Burton Hall, Davis Hall, Musser Hall, Scoville Hall, the Chapel, and Music & Drama. Provisions will also be made for space in the Willis vault to allow for future equipment in the event the proposed arts center would be added to the system.