Renovated Moosilauke Lodge to be dedicated

by Eileen Brady | 10/12/17 2:05am


The newly-constructed Moosilauke Ravine Lodge will be dedicated this Saturday, Oct. 14 at 10 a.m. Construction on the Lodge finished earlier this month, according to director of outdoor programs Dan Nelson ’75, wrapping up the roughly year-long project that began with the demolition of the old Lodge in September 2016.

The ceremony will officially introduce the new facility to Dartmouth students, alumni, faculty and staff as well as members of the general public in attendance. A shuttle will be available to bring attendees from campus to the Lodge for the ceremony.

The new facility replaces the original Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, built in 1938, which had been in use since its opening in 1939, according to Nelson. The main reasons for renovation were the condition, accessibility and sustainability of the building and the need for more space, Nelson said.

Another reason the new Lodge was constructed was to better accommodate the programs that make use of the facility, primarily the First-Year Trips program, Nelson said.

“A facility that was built in 1938 didn’t successfully accommodate the size of the programs that we have there now,” Nelson said. “The [Trips] program has been going to the Ravine Lodge since there was a Ravine Lodge, but in the early years of that program there were dozens of students; now it’s a thousand students.”

According to Nelson, the biggest changes to the building were increasing the space of the dining room and kitchen and building additional meeting rooms.

Initially, construction on the new facility was originally scheduled to be done in time to welcome members of the Class of 2021 at the end of their First-Year Trips, however it was announced in May that the project would not be done in time.

“Our hope was that we would be able to open it in time for [Trips 2017], but it was also a very challenging and compressed construction schedule, made a little bit more challenging by the fact that the Lodge is some distance from any town or urban center [and that] construction took place over the course of a winter in New Hampshire,” Nelson said.

This year, Trips concluded at the Dartmouth Skiway as opposed to the Moosilauke Lodge.

To introduce first-year students to the new Lodge early in their time at Dartmouth, dinners at the Lodge were organized for first-year students in each of the six housing communities over the first few weeks that the new Lodge was open.

Sarah Salzman ’18, who served as one of the two captains of Lodj Croo — the student group that organizes and leads the portion of First-Year Trips held at the Lodge — this past summer, said she looks forward to the use of the new Lodge but was disappointed upon hearing of the construction delay in May.

“After having lived there for some time [while serving on Lodj Croo at Moosilauke in 2015], I definitely felt that there was a lot that needed to be fixed. I was excited about the new Lodge,” Salzman said. “[I was] definitely really hoping for it to be done in time for Trips this year and very disappointed that it wasn’t.”

Having visited the new Lodge in August a few weeks before it was completed, Salzman said she is most pleased with the upgrades to the kitchen and the increased space.

Rachel Kesler ’19, who worked as a member of Lodge crew — the staff that manages the normal operations of the Lodge — during summer 2016, said that she hopes the remote feeling of the Lodge and the emphasis on students will be preserved in the new facility.

“I think that it’s such a unique thing for students to be able to go out to this place in the middle of nowhere and have such a strong connection to New Hampshire and the outdoors,” Kesler said. “I hope that it will continue to be a strong student space with a lot of great programming.”

Nelson noted that there are plans to continue Lodge activities as they have always been and preserve traditions of its programming.

“The new Lodge was designed to do a better job of accommodating the programs we already have, not to do things up there that we don’t already do,” Nelson said. “Most people who have walked into the new Lodge, besides being really impressed by its beauty and the craftsmanship that went into it, find that it feels very familiar.”

Nelson explained that besides the building’s same location and similar layout, some materials such as memorabilia, decor and even windows from the old Lodge were incorporated into the new Lodge.

Nelson noted that some people were nostalgic about the Lodge’s construction but ultimately are pleased with the new building.

“The Lodge was a deeply loved building, so it was challenging for a lot of people to finally recognize that it had outlived its useful life,” Nelson said. “But people have been delighted with the final result.”