Renovations on E. Wheelock Street to alter Hop, Inn

by Jasmine Sachar | 7/21/14 8:32pm
A series of renovations are planned along East Wheelock street.

A series of renovations along East Wheelock street will bring new windows to the Hopkins Center, new sidewalks and a new bus shelter by early fall, vice president of campus planning and facilities Lisa Hogarty said.

The installation of energy-efficient front windows at the Hopkins Center, the first leg of the renovations, is slated to finish in four weeks, Hogarty said.

Funding for the new windows, Hogarty said, comes from money in the facilities budget aside for capital renewal — replacing old elements of building. Tuition, research dollars and philanthropy contribute to the facilities budget, she added.

Following the renovation, the College will spend less to heat and cool buildings, Hogarty said. The windows were around 50 years old.

Hogarty did not disclose the costs of the renovation or the projected savings from the windows’ increased energy efficiency.

College spokesperson Shea Drefs did not respond to three requests for comment on Monday evening regarding the cost of the renovation or projected savings.

Center for College Affordability and Productivity director Richard Vedder said he is skeptical that the benefits of the renovation will outweigh the costs, adding that nationwide colleges undertake similar environmentally friendly construction initiatives to be “fashionable.”

“When the presidents of these various colleges get together, they like to brag about what they’ve done to be cool and popular with the faculty, the academic community, with the broader public and with the Obama administration, so the president of Dartmouth is probably winning some bragging rights,” Vedder said.

Colleges like Dartmouth ought to report the exact costs and the projected benefits of these projects, Vedder said. Speaking generally, he said institutions should take the money spent on construction and direct it towards furthering educational objectives and providing scholarships.

Hogarty said the window initiative fits into College President Phil Hanlon’s goals for fiscal responsibility.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure we’re replacing building materials at the right moment in the most cost-effective way possible,” Hogarty said.

An expanded mobility hub in front of the Hop should be completed in early September. The project will be paid for by the Town of Hanover with some federal contributions, she said.

Town manager Julia Griffin could not be reached by phone on July 20.

Hanover Inn general manager Joe Mellia said an additional lane will be added to the Inn’s driveway to ease congestion on East Wheelock Street. The sidewalk will be moved outside the porte-cochère so pedestrians do not get in the way of cars pulling into the Inn, he said. The reconfiguration is expected to make room for more outdoor dining.

The Hanover Inn renovation will cost roughly $250,000, Mellia said, and will be paid for by a loan from the College to the Inn. In 2012, the Inn underwent a $41 million renovation that was also paid for by a College-funded loan, Mellia said. The renovations expanded the Inn’s facilities so it could better accommodate larger conferences and more visitors.

Other projects in progress include replacing the east roof of the Alumni Gym and many smaller projects that cost less than $100,000, like boiler replacements and work in the central steam plant, Hogarty said.

The Thayer School of Engineering is also planning a major renovation that aims to expand undergraduate and graduate programs, Hogarty said. The College is currently assessing the space needed for the renovation.

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction appended (7/22/18):

Due to an editing error, the initial story indicated that the reporter askedCollege spokesperson Shea Drefs for comment Monday evening and afternoon, when each request was made in the evening.