Work on Gilman and Dana Halls will begin in November

by Eileen Brady | 9/21/17 10:21am

by Steven Li / The Dartmouth

The College will begin demolishing Gilman Hall and renovating Dana Hall in November, an undertaking projected to be completed in fall 2019, according to Dartmouth Campus Services.

Gilman, which used to house biological sciences, has been vacant since the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center opened in 2011. The space it currently occupies will become part of a green space on the north end of campus, senior project manager Joe Broemel said. He added that Dana, former home of the biomedical library, will be renovated to improve the building’s safety and accommodate new faculty offices, a graduate student lounge and reading and study areas.

Broemel said all local permits for the demolition of Gilman have been acquired. The demolition of the building is scheduled for late November through December of this year, with the interior abatement, interior demolition and the exterior abatement preceding it in the coming weeks. Demolition refers to the removal of walls, ceilings and floors in a building, while abatement is the removal of harmful building materials such as lead or asbestos.

There are no plans to erect a new building in the space that Gilman Hall currently occupies. The area will be part of a green corridor stretching from Baker-Berry Library through the McLaughlin cluster to the Life Sciences Center, Broemel said.

“Without [Gilman], students will much more easily be able to just walk through that space where Gilman was to get to [the Life Sciences Center],” campus services director of communications Lisa Celone said in a joint interview with Broemel. “There’ll be some sidewalks, trees put there, shrubs and things like that.”

While the timeline for the renovation of Dana is still uncertain, Broemel said July 2018 would be an ideal time to start it. He added, however that the process “depends on both funding and approval from the College.” He said he hopes the site plan review will be completed later this year or early next year.

“Right now we don’t want to name a date, because we still don’t know what obstacles might come up [in the design process],” Celone said.

Government professor and project steering committee member Lisa Baldez said she is primarily focused on ensuring that the architecture of educational spaces in Dana will be conducive to student learning, citing her experience in this area as the director of the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning. The steering committee, composed of seven faculty members and staff, is responsible for refining the building’s design and make recommendations to provost Carolyn Dever and executive vice president Rick Mills.

“Any faculty member could certainly reflect different faculty perspectives, but my position really reflects the importance of thinking about any classroom space,” Baldez said.

Despite recent housing shortages, Celone said Dana will not become a residential building. 

“Based on the master plan, I don’t think that [Dana] is a space where we would want to build [an] undergraduate residence hall,” Celone said. “We need faculty space, and that’s the right size and configuration of the building to accommodate [the faculty space] fairly easily.”