Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,
We write today to provide an update on the College’s geothermal project. This initiative began last summer, and work has been underway since then. There are many pieces to this project, and we aspire to stay on track to meet our goal and reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2030. To that end, the timing of some key project segments has been moved up. You may have already noticed that some work began behind Blanchard on February 5, and the next phase of the project will officially begin on March 1.
Highlights of upcoming projects that may impact you (further details below):
Fencing around Skinner Green — March through September
Porter Hall and Safford Hall — south side parking and sidewalk closure mid-March through mid-April
Brigham Hall — interior work beginning May 13
Post Commencement through summer — interior and exterior work affecting residence halls and other buildings
Fencing will go up on a large portion of Skinner Green the first week of March, and will remain up through the end of the summer to enable trenching and piping work. Sod will be placed down as quickly as the construction schedule allows to provide access to Skinner Green sometime in September. The restoration of Skinner Green will also level out the bowl shape on the southern end, creating a more level green.
From March 18 to mid-April, early work will be underway on the underground chilled water lines between Porter Hall and Blanchard Hall. During this time, parking will be unavailable on the south side of Porter as the road will be closed for truck access. The sidewalk from Blanchard to the Ciruti Center will also be closed. Additional chilled water line work will also take place around Safford Hall. Residents of both Porter and Safford will receive further details about the impact of this work from the Division of Student Life.
On May 13, we will begin the conversion process for Brigham Hall. Information regarding housing for members of the class of 2024 who reside in Brigham is forthcoming from Student Life. On May 28, Porter Hall will follow suit. Starting June 1, we will be installing utility piping around Wilder Hall, Mead Hall, North Rockefeller Hall and Rockefeller Road. We will also begin work on distribution piping to the heating plant behind Porter Hall, impacting the availability of the Porter parking lot. On June 11, we will begin the conversion process for Mary Woolley Hall and on June 17, we will begin to install utility piping at Chapin Road.
Please be advised that in general, construction hours are from 7 am–3:30 pm or 5 pm at the latest, Monday through Friday. There is also a possibility for weekend work on Saturdays. Some noise can be expected due to construction vehicles, excavation and the trucking of soil, and there will also be storage containers and dumpsters at various locations throughout campus. We do not anticipate this work will result in any interruptions to utilities, and summer housing for students should be largely unaffected. Pedestrian pathways impacted by the project will utilize steel plates and ramps for accessibility.
We are committed to minimizing the accessibility challenges this project presents and we invite your questions and concerns. You can reach the 504 Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, if you encounter access barriers please report them via the Accessibility Barriers Reporting Form.
We understand that this work, particularly the work on Skinner Green, will impact certain spring semester traditions and events, such as Pangy Day and Spring Weekend, as well as Commencement and Reunion activities. All efforts will be made to relocate events typically held on Skinner Green to other green spaces on campus. Traditions such as Pangy Day and Spring Weekend will still be marked and celebrated! We are also exploring alternative locations for the beloved Commencement weekend Community Picnic and other Commencement and Reunion events that are typically held on Skinner Green, and further details are forthcoming. Additionally, we are considering the ways these location changes could impact transportation for our alums, inclement weather planning and parking. The route for the Laurel Parade will still be accessible, and there shouldn’t be any pedestrian paths closed during the Commencement and Reunion weekends.
Please continue to monitor our Geothermal Project webpage for updates and progress. Questions or concerns can be emailed to email@example.com. Students are also invited to attend the SGA Senate on Tuesday, February 20 from 7:30–9 pm in the Great Room, where staff will be present to talk more about the Geothermal Project and provide additional details about the anticipated construction.
Karla Youngblood, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Carl Ries, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer