Students, faculty, and staff want more options for living, socializing, and dining. The most fiscally sound approach is to repurpose Blanchard to house programming that supports community; to invest in new construction that improves dining; and to renovate the residential dining hall spaces to create flexible communal spaces. Further study is necessary to determine the most feasible uses and associated costs of former dining space, but some ideas include suite-style housing options, expanded living and learning communities, and health and wellness studios.
The Mount Holyoke community has guided the proposed project over many months with ideas about what this new space should be:
a place at the heart of the campus but with plural identities that is surrounded by the social spaces of residence halls and academic buildings;
a social venue for small, medium, and large-scale events;
a meeting place that creates connections that are cross-generational, multidimensional, and memorable; and
the institutional infrastructure for synergism—intellectual and social community that foster confidence and leadership.
Because Blanchard is already a hub—linking upper and lower campus, connecting greens and lakes—it is the right place to house the programming to draw the community together in new ways, and to welcome visitors near and far. The Community Center project represents much more than an investment in bricks and mortar. It represents a strategic approach to creating spaces that enhance residential, social, and dining life; to responding to the needs of students, faculty, and staff; and to providing maximum flexibility to meet the expectations of Mount Holyoke constituents in the future.