Departments shuffle with updated buildings

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April 17, 2009

5:19 AM

Following approximately 24 months of construction and seven years of planning and design, Alan B. Miller Hall, the new home to the College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business, will open to students August 24.

The building was built by Robert A. M. Stern Architects and construction company Whiting-Turner, using $75 million. It is equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms, green technology and a snazzy cafe, and will be one of the most up-to-date structures on campus.

However, the Mason School of Business is not the only department relocating in fall 2009. As the business school moves across campus, Tyler Hall and some rooms in Blow Memorial Hall will become vacant. Other
departments will be changing locations to fill rooms currently occupied by the business school.

St. George Tucker Hall, which houses the English department, linguistics department, the Writing Resources Center and the Charles Center, will undergo the most extensive tenant changes. The English and linguistics departments will temporarily use Tyler if the state of Virginia approves the $12 million needed for renovations to Tucker.

If funding is approved, the aforementioned departments will move to different on-campus locations in July.
The linguistics and English departments will move to Tyler, and the Charles Center will move to Blow Hall. Professor’s offices and, possibly, the linguistics lab, will re-take their places in Tucker once renovations are complete. The Writing Resources Center will take up permanent residency in Earl Gregg Swem Library.

Structural changes to Tucker will include the addition of a student lounge, a skylight that extends from the cupola to the first floor, two staircases, centrally located restrooms and an elevator.

“We’re making a lot of logical changes,” professor Jack Martin, the English department chair and member of
Tucker’s renovation committee, said.

Dave Bagnoli of Cunningham-Quill, the construction company used for the project, faced a number of daunting tasks when planning the renovation. Working around Tucker’s five awkward levels and poor natural lighting proved difficult for the architect, according to Martin.

The planners also spent a considerable amount of time studying the other academic buildings along the Sunken Garden in order to ensure that Tucker maintained the Georgian architecture of the other five buildings.

Renovations to Tucker’s exterior have also been planned. The cooling structure located between Tucker and Tyler will be removed. A park, similar to James Blair Park, which is located between James Blair Hall and Tyler
Hall, will take its place.

The pit on Tucker’s right side will be converted into a miniature Sunken Garden in which students can study and relax outdoors.

Despite rumors of relocation, departments in other buildings will stay put. The government, economics and sociology departments, which are located in Morton Hall, will not move.

“The economics department is not moving anywhere next fall,” Chancellor professor of the economics department Robert Archibald said. “We will be in Morton as we have for the last 37 years.”

However, according to the College’s Office of Administration, the College does have plans eventually to
move Morton’s social sciences departments. In the future, Tyler will house the economics, government, international relations and public policy departments.

This will occur after Tyler is renovated, a process which will begin after the English and linguistics departments move back into Tucker. Tyler renovations will cost approximately $15 million.

According to College Spokesman Brian Whitson, the Six Year Capital Plan, which contains a list of all buildings that are currently on schedule for renovation, will go before the Board of Visitors this week in order to schedule a timeline for these renovations. At the time of print, the BOV had not passed this proposal.

The modern languages and literatures department and the anthropology department, located in Washington Hall, will also stay.

“MLL is not moving, but faculty will be teaching in various buildings because there will be a shortage of classrooms due to renovations elsewhere,” Jonathan Arries, associate professor of Hispanic studies, said.

Although faculty in MLL will teach classes in other buildings, the College has not decided where it will place them. Some classes, however, will be held in Blow, while others will be in Tyler.

“The new building is our first priority,” Sue Ballard, manager of financial operations for the Mason School of
Business, said. “[Concerning class locations], we’ll know when we know.”

With so many structural changes occurring in the next few months, many students and faculty members are concerned about the College’s already limited parking.

The College is currently creating a parking plan for the west side of campus, which must accommodate cars for the Business School as well as the School of Education, until the education department moves into its new location, the old hospital site off Monticello Avenue in 2010.

For now, the College has two priorities: receiving state funding and moving the business school across campus in mid-June.

“As to the state of the economy, I would say that William and Mary finds itself in the same situation as most colleges and universities,” Anna Martin, vice president of the Office of Administration, said. “It will take time for the economy to turn around. When it does, I am confident things will begin to improve for our budget as well.”

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