By Hanna Merzbach
In an attempt to address maintenance issues and plan long-term development on all three campuses, Lewis & Clark has partnered with Sasaki, a large-scale development consulting company. Sasaki first held public outreach sessions at LC last November and incorporated the feedback they gained into development plans. On Jan. 25 and 26, the planning team returned to LC to present various facilities plans and hear the community’s feedback.
These development plans are preliminary. They will not be executed all at once and many will not happen in the near future; they simply provide the College with a development sequence when it is decided these changes are needed. Even if these plans were executed perfectly, they would not be completed for at least a decade.
“This is the big masterplan,” Associate Vice President for Facilities Michel George said. “We sit and say ‘these are the components that go into it.’ Then, when we actually get to designing these components, we bring in a different group and go into a lot of detail.”
According to Sasaki Principal-in-Charge and Planning Lead Caitlyn Clauson, they started from the baseline: identifying areas where maintenance has been deferred.
“You see Hartzfield, Akin, the (Graduate Campus) chapel and they really start to emerge as critical areas we need to address,” Clauson said.
Clauson further articulated Sasaki’s goals in creating development plans.
“From the first moment we stepped on this campus, the ideas of adapt and reuse were very apparent in terms of (LC’s) identity,” Clauson said. “I think that there are real opportunities to build upon that within some of (LC’s) existing buildings.”
Sasaki categorized LC into four distinct sections: the academic, athletic, residential and Law/Graduate Campus.
When considering the academic campus, Clauson said the team prioritized visible learning by proposing additions to the library. They also recommended organizing academic halls more efficiently.
“When we are thinking about programs and their location, are there particular programs that collaborate frequently that are distanced from one another that might benefit from being collocated together?” Clauson said.
Asking these kinds of questions resulted in a plan getting rid of the BoDine and Biology-Psychology completely, combining all the maths and sciences into the existing Olin structure. The Sasaki team believes this would create much-needed open space.
They also observed the gathering space in front of J.R. Howard Hall and recommended building a cafe there.
“What fascinated us is that this corner right here has these step boulders that drop down and it seems that, from a student life perspective, students gather there,” Clauson said. “People go and like to see and be seen from that location. So, if you were thinking about introducing a cafe in that area, that would just further animate that.”
This coffee shop would serve the library and provide a late night dining option on the academic campus. While this would mean the Dovecote would no longer operate as a cafe, the team recognized its significance to students.
“We are suggesting that the Dovecote get converted into a student lounge,” Clauson said. “It is such a sweet, special space. You want it to maintain some sort of active function throughout.”
The team also realized the artistic needs of the academic campus. After considering complaints about the Hoffman Art Gallery’s inaccessibility to the public due to parking, they suggested building a new gallery onto Fir Acres Theatre. They also recommended developing new art studio spaces.
“In most liberal arts colleges, the students, especially the seniors, have their own individual studios because otherwise where are they supposed to do their work?” Associate Professor of Art History and Faculty Representative of the Board of Trustees Dawn Odell said. “It wouldn’t just be a bonus, I think it is kind of a requirement.”
Although they focused on developing the art buildings, the team proposed no development for Evans Music Center despite the music department’s desire for upgrades.
“Our music building cannot compete,” Professor of Music and Director of Musicology Nora Beck said. “We have kids coming who are visitors saying ‘my high school looks better than this and they walk out of here.’ We don’t seem to be a part of this exciting newness. We want to be a part of making something better in the music building.”
The music department frequently competes for performance time at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel and at the Evans Auditorium.
“I have been here 25 years,” Beck said. “They have promised me a building ever since I walked in. We can’t compete with Reed which has a new music hall, with Willamette that has a beautiful hall. Linfield College has a new hall. Our hall is from 1956 and it’s not exciting to students.”
Clauson agreed to take Beck’s concerns into consideration.
Moving south to athletics, Clauson identified the Tennis Dome as a deferred maintenance site.
“Tennis bubbles usually have a lifespan of about 12 years, so you’re frequently replacing it,” Clauson said.
The Sasaki team recommended replacing the dome with a “modest building” and building a new press box. In hopes of further integrating the academic and athletic parts of campus, the team suggested extending on Pamplin Fitness Center to make fitness more visible. They also advocated for a three-tiered parking garage in Lower Griswold, with around 300 parking spots, to meet future parking needs.
Moving to residential campus, the team focused largely on “migration patterns,” specifically the path by Templeton Student Center.
“We really feel that Templeton is in the right location but that we need to address the functionality of the building on the inside and how that building relates to the exterior public realm environment,” Clauson said.
The plans for this portion of campus included pedestrianizing this area to allow for more open space and removing the parking lots.
Sasaki suggested moving Fields Dining Hall to a newly-built residence hall (where Stewart and Odell currently reside).
Other potential development options included demolishing Copeland, due to its deferred maintenance issues, and reforesting the area; this residential space would then be made up for by building new halls onto to what is now Platt.
“Step one is to build a new residence hall,” Sasaki Principal and Design Lead Bryan Irwin said. “I think you could get a very eloquent building holding about 150 to 160 students just to the south of Platt, in the space between Platt and McAfee.”
The Sasaki team also advocated for creating a stronger sense of campus on the Law and Graduate Campuses. These campuses have already had development plans drawn, so Sasaki had few additional suggestions to give in those areas.
Sasaki is now integrating the feedback from these open sessions into final plans that will soon be presented to the Board of Trustees for further consideration.
“We obviously can’t afford to do everything, but they are here to present it to people, see what resonates and come up with some priorities,” George said. “Once we do that we will present it to the board, then we’ll start doing some financial analysis and refine it a little more to say ‘this is what we can do in the three-to-five year, one-to-five year range and this is what we need to move down the road with.’”