River dock likely to reopen this summer

by Sam Rauschenfels | 2/24/11 11:00pm

The plans to renovate College property along the Connecticut River include a new swim dock located 200 feet downstream from the current dock, which was closed last summer due to safety concerns.
by Courtesy of Justin Anderson / The Dartmouth

New plans to renovate Dartmouth's property along the Connecticut River aim to reopen the swim docks which were closed last summer due to safety concerns in time for the upcoming Summer term, according to Justin Anderson, director of media relations for the College. Representatives from Milone and MacBroom an engineering, environmental and landscape architecture consulting firm presented renderings of three potential designs for the site to a group of Dartmouth students and staff on Thursday afternoon.

The swim docks were closed indefinitely last June after a routine review identified several safety concerns, including the river's rapidly changing depth, poor visibility and an unpredictable current, The Dartmouth previously reported.

The relocated docks will employ electronic monitoring devices run in connection with the Wilder Dam to protect swimmers from dangerous currents and unsafe bacteria levels, Anderson said. This type of sophisticated technology to protect river users did not exist in the past, he said.

Additional safety measures will include the presence of another lifeguard, which will likely be a student, according to Anderson. Prior to the docks closing, the College employed lifeguards to patrol the area during limited hours, The Dartmouth previously reported.

Relocating the docks will cost roughly $200,000, which will be funded by the President's Office, he said.

A Student Assembly committee report released at the end of Fall term, as well as Ledyard Canoe Club's desire to replace its physical plant, initiated the redesign process, according to Anderson. The President's Office made the final decision to pursue the project after reviewing the Assembly's report, he said.

The College has filed an application with the Town of Hanover to relocate the docks and build the new access path, Anderson said. Following a site visit by the Hanover Conservation Commission on March 7, the proposal will be considered at a town hearing on March 9, he said.

"It is our goal that [the docks] be back in time for the Summer term," Anderson said.

The project's completion depends on whether the College obtains approval from the town, after which a construction timeline can be established, Anderson said.

In addition to one new swimming dock located 200 feet downstream of the current docks, the project will also enable Ledyard Canoe Club to rebuild its facility, Anderson said.

Each of the three proposed plans include a different vision for open spaces with tables and campfire circles as well as the current parking lot, according to drawings obtained by The Dartmouth. The plans feature various boat storage locations and visions for revitalizing Ledyard's facilities, as well as proposed methods of maximizing storm water runoff.

All proposed plans also add an access path leading to the docks so that they meet accessibility standards mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Anderson said.

The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the swim docks would be reopened by Summer term. In fact, there is no definite date by which the docks will reopen.

The original article appeared in print with the headline "River dock will reopen this summer."

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