Lodge construction may begin as early as fall 2016

by Priya Ramaiah | 7/30/15 9:04pm


Students, professors and alumni share dinner at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

by Kate Herrington and Kate Herrington / The Dartmouth

Since it opened in 1938, the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge has been a source of fond memories for students at the College. Now, after a 10-year planning process, replacement designs and architectural sketches have been released for the plan to rebuild the Lodge.

Director of Outdoor Programs Dan Nelson said that the Moosilauke Advisory Committee, which includes alumni as well as student leadership of the Dartmouth Outing Club, has been discussing the need for a new or renovated Lodge for more than a decade. He cited the larger student body and larger freshman outdoor trips program as one of two main reasons for the renovation plans. The other impetus for a new Lodge was the deteriorating condition of the building, Nelson said.

“The Lodge was never anticipated to last for more than 40 to 45 years due to its log construction,” Nelson said. “Now it’s almost 80 years old.”

Rotted logs in the Lodge building have been replaced as needed for years, he added.

The new Lodge building design calls for an insulated timber structure instead of logs, which will be more energy-efficient and long-lasting, Nelson said.

“I think the building will combine the kind of warm feeling and history of wood logs that we so love and appreciate about the current Lodge,” he said.

According to the office of planning, design and construction’s website, the decision to rebuild rather than renovate the Lodge was made after a feasibility study conducted by the College concluded that a renovation to meet all necessary safety and building codes would reduce the usable space of the Lodge by 30 percent, an unreasonable restriction given the facility’s programming needs.

While the architectural plans, completed by Vermont-based Maclay Architects, have been completed, the timeline for the renovation remains uncertain. The start date depends on approval by trustees and is dependent on fundraising for the project, Nelson said. Ideally, construction would be started in the fall after the conclusion of Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips and be completed in time for Trips the following year. The soonest possible start date would be the fall of 2016.

The project goals for the renewal centered around maintaining the character, tradition and community of the Lodge while creating a safe, durable structure that could continue to be maintained by students, according to the project’s website.

Nelson praised the architects and the Ravine Lodge steering committee for taking the feedback of students, alumni and staff into strong consideration while still meeting the proposed goals.

On Monday, Nelson held an after-dinner discussion at the Lodge to discuss construction plans with community members.

Aiko Laski ’17 said that she remembers feeling both welcomed and overwhelmed on her first visit to the Lodge during Trips. Since then, she has been back numerous times for hiking as well as dinner.

DOC president and Moosilauke Advisory Committee member Cedar Farwell ’17 said that while he was initially unsure about the plan to completely rebuild the Lodge, he is excited to have a more sustainable and efficient building. He added that Lodge is especially significant as one of the first places that welcomes new students and makes them feel at home. This character and energy, he said, will endure in the new construction of the Lodge.

In my mind, the Lodge embodies Dartmouth and represents everything that I love about the College, Farwell wrote in an email. The Lodge serves as the gateway to the mountains that I love and brings students, alumni and professors together for dinner.

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