By Isabel Weinger Nielsen, editor
The Norwich campus is quite a different place from what you may have seen just a few months ago. Though the trees and flowers are in full bloom, construction trucks occupy the north end of campus, busily digging up the areas to the front and back of Webb Hall. All this is in preparation for the renovation of Webb, Dewey, and Ainsworth Halls and the building of the new Mack Hall, collectively known as the WDAM project, due to be completed by fall 2019.
During the spring semester, Ainsworth faculty packed their books and belongings to get ready for the big move. For some, it meant going through many years’ worth of papers and memorabilia to sort out what could be brought to temporary offices or put in storage. Over 1,000 textbooks were donated to Better World Books and other items were trashed or recycled. On May 15, the move-out began from Ainsworth Hall and was completed in five days.
Stan Shernock, Dana Professor of Criminal Justice said, “It was a painful and arduous undertaking. I checked almost every paper before keeping or discarding it. It was a trip down memory lane. However, the experience was much more than boxing up and discarding books and materials by a deadline. It led to deep reflections and emotions about my 32-year career at Norwich that will have an indelible effect on me forever.”
Many of the CoLA faculty and staff have been relocated while the work goes on. Until January 2018, the History and Political Science (HI & PO) Department will be located in Marsilius Hall (downstairs from the infirmary) and the School of Justice Studies and Sociology (SJSS) will be located in Ellis House (on Central Street, across from the President’s House). Ainsworth will be completely renovated, and in January 2018 HI & PO and SJSS will move into their “new” offices.
The Psychology and Education Department (PY & ED) will have a temporary home in Flint Hall (on Central Street, upstairs from the Office of Communications) until Dewey is completed in fall 2019. In addition to faculty offices, the Flint location has a classroom, a PY lab, computers, and an area for practice teaching.
Kevin Fleming, Professor of Psychology said, “I was very impressed by the workmanship on the building to make it a nice and comfortable space for faculty and students. All things considered, we are very happy to be in our new home and grateful to Norm St. Onge [construction manager] and his team for making the process run as smoothly as humanly possible.”
Webb Hall will be closed for the summer due to internet, water and electrical work that needs to be done in preparation for its renovation beginning in May 2018. So, for the summer only, some Webb faculty and staff will be working in Hawkins Hall (a student dorm) and will return to Webb in August.
A historic event took place on May 25, when, in just a few hours, Dole Auditorium was taken down to make room for Mack Hall. A small crowd gathered near Dewey Hall to watch a bucket loader knock down the bricks and roof of Dole, site of Pegasus Player productions, mil labs, classes, symposiums, and lectures.
Jeanne Beckwith, adjunct instructor of English and this year’s director of the Pegasus Players said, I didn’t expect watching Dole come down to affect me as much as it did. I could only think about happy times, working with Helen Caudill [former Pegasus Players director] on so many shows. I thought about all the wonderful Pegasus kids who had worked so hard on that stage: backstage, building sets and running shows or out in front acting and singing with so much sheer energy and joy, and I missed it all. But we have a new theater director and we’ll have a new stage. It will be great–it just feels a bit strange and sad right now.”
Every day the landscape of the campus changes. To keep up with the latest information, go tohttp://lifeat.norwich.edu/wdam/