College spends long hours in preparation

by Michael Ross | 6/11/95 5:00am

Over the past several weeks, Dartmouth's department of Facilities, Operations and Management has been working feverishly to prepare for Memorial Field's debut as a graduation site.

According to Director of Conferences and Events Linda Hathorn, hundreds of College employees and several outside companies have been involved in a massive effort to make sure the stadium and the College look their best for Commencement and class reunions.

"We're showing off our best, and we're doing the best job we can," she said.

Hathorn said Memorial Field has undergone several renovations in order to transform it into a suitable graduation site.

The areas under the stands have been leveled and the field has been renovated to prepare it for graduation exercises. In addition, the west stands' bathrooms and railings are being repainted, and temporary restrooms will be placed under the east stands, she said.

She said an outside company had been contracted to decorate Memorial Field.

Apart from the Commencement site itself, the College must also prepare the grounds and other sites for several days of graduation and class reunion activities.

"We not only get [the College] ready for Commencement, but for the classes that are coming back," Hathorn said.

The grounds crews work to clean up brush, trim bushes and grow the grass, she said.

Buildings needed to be prepared as well. Hathorn said the brass numerals on Baker Library have been shined, while Leede Arena and the Leverone Fieldhouse were readied for the senior class and the press.

According to Assistant Director of Financial Services for Budget Development Bonnie Norton, it is uncertain how much this extraordinary commencement will cost the College.

In a typical year, she said, Dartmouth budgets between $125,000 to $175,000 for Commencement.

Hathorn said it is difficult to judge whether it was easier to prepare for Commencement in front of Baker Library or at Memorial Field, but said there are inherent problems in any attempt to move such an event.

"Once something has been done once, it is easier to do it a second time, but the first time is always a challenge," she said.

The familiarity of the Baker location, however, made many aspects of planning easier, she said.

Preparations for Commencement and reunion began on March 27, a few days after President Bill Clinton accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker, Hathorn said.

According to Hathorn, a core Commencement committee of 16 members, each of whom heads a planning subdivision, began meeting on that day to start the planning process.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!