Lodge will be completed by next fall

by Anthony Robles | 2/16/17 2:15am

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The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is expected to finish in time for next fall's First-Year Trips.

by Paula Mendoza / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Despite the challenges that winter weather brings, construction of the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge continues apace. Construction is scheduled to finish in time for the 2017 iteration of the Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips, according to DOC director of outdoor programs Dan Nelson ’75. As of now, most of the Lodge’s tinder frame has been put in place, and within the next few weeks construction on the building’s exterior and roof will be complete. The building is expected to be weather-proof by the end of March, allowing for work on the interior to commence.

“I think that this new Lodge will almost immediately become a Dartmouth icon and a building that people feel passionately attached to,” Nelson said. “The building is really aesthetically connected to the mountain, and it’s designed so that it will really help members of the community feel connected with one another and with the traditions of the place and the wonderful outdoor experience that you can find at Moosilauke.”

Paula Mendoza

Construction of the Lodge's exterior and roof will be completed within the next few weeks.

To preserve the rustic feel of its predecessor, the Lodge has been constructed with an emphasis on exposed wood, while the interior will be decorated with much of the old memorabilia that once hung on the walls of the original Lodge, Nelson said.

Besides preserving its rustic feel, the new Lodge will be insulated and energy-efficient. It will feature “comfortable” bathrooms and be accessible to those with physical disabilities, Nelson said. A new kitchen space will include new appliances, better lighting and ventilation. While the new Lodge will not have Wi-Fi, Nelson said there will be spaces that can be used for academic classes, conferences and retreats, where people can connect an ethernet cord in if they need Internet service.

“It’s a long tradition of the Lodge that people are off their devices when they’re up there, and we plan to continue that,” Nelson said. “We won’t have, at least for the foreseeable future, guests wandering around the Lodge glued to their phones.”

The architects behind the estimated $17 million project are Maclay Architects, based in Waitsfield, Vermont, who were also responsible for the design of the Class of ’65 bunkhouses directly next to the Lodge. The general contractor working on the Lodge is DEW Construction Corporation, based out of Williston, Vermont, according to Nelson.

Working on a rigorous schedule, the construction crews have had to deal with heavy snowfall, high winds and cold temperatures. Reaching the Lodge alone requires plowing through two miles of snow, with the commute from Hanover to Moosilauke Lodge taking up to an hour a day each way.

“The crews there have the right kind of equipment, and they’re used to working in those conditions, and they’re really making the best of it,” Nelson said.

The construction of the new Lodge brings with it a feeling of both excitement and trepidation, for the original structure has fostered many fond memories since it first opened in 1938.

Lodj Croo director for Trips 2017 Milan Chuttani ’18, who worked at the Lodge the summer after his freshman year, said that he would miss constantly fixing all the parts of the Lodge that broke, as it was something that he and his fellow workers took a lot of pride in.

As the new director, Chuttani will be responsible for choosing additional crew members in the spring and making sure that all safety protocols are in place, along with ensuring that all food and medical materials are organized and secured in time by the time the first trips section arrives.

“During Trips, it’s a completely different atmosphere,” Chuttani said. “The entire energy of the program culminates at the Lodge and there’s so many excited freshmen coming in that you get to meet. My favorite part has been getting to support trip leaders and freshmen at such an exciting point in their lives.”

Former Lodge crew member Rachel Kesler ’19 said that her favorite aspects of working at the Lodge were the connection with the outdoors and having face-to-face connections with people without the distraction of social media. Along with nine other people, Kesler worked at the Lodge this past summer from early June to early August, which involved day-to-day tasks such as checking in guests, serving dinner and taking reservations.

“It’s a place that’s really central to a lot of Dartmouth connections and memories,” Kesler said. “We had a lot of alumni come this summer with their kids, and it was really cool to also see how connected people were to the Lodge and how many memories were there.”

Kesler also said it was sad that the Lodge was being torn down at the end of the season, and that guests would occasionally inquire why.

“Being a part of the last Lodge crew, we kind of had to take the flack for that every now and then,” she said.

If construction of the new Lodge suffers a setback and cannot be completed in time for Trips, there are contingency plans in place for such a scenario, such as using the Dartmouth Skiway, Nelson said. But if it remains on schedule, the Class of 2021 will be the first to create memories there. The Lodge will open to the public in the fall of 2017.

“The old Lodge felt so removed from the modern world that it became its own magical environment in a lot of ways,” Chuttani said. “I’m really excited to see how people make the new Lodge their own and make it feel like home — the way that the old Lodge has always felt.”