New state budget could advance Tucker renovation

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April 9, 2010

4:27 AM

News of potential funds from the state has brought optimism to the renovation of the College of William and Mary’s Tucker Hall.

“We have information that they have included Tucker Hall in a group of projects that they are going to fund,” Vice President for Administration Anna Martin said. “We are number four in line. What we don’t know is the exact amount of money that they put aside for the project.”

Due to a lack of state fund commitment, the project has been stuck in the second phase of design for months, unable to move on to the planned renovation, and leaving its space unusable.

However, the College will not know whether money for Tucker will be appropriated until Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell approves the state’s budget later this month.

The project has spent more than a year and a half in the planning stage.

According to Dean Carl Strikwerda, the growing English department required a building to suit their changing needs, leading to a possible Tucker renovation.

“[Tucker Hall] never really received the full renovation that it needed,” Strikwerda said. “We really needed to renovate to give them the high class home that they deserve.”

Renovations for the building would include a restoration of the foyer’s split staircase, a new cupola to shine light down to the first floor and architectural details that pay homage to the building’s history as the College’s original library.

A courtyard will also be included to allow for classes to be held outside on fair days. Several English department faculty members are eager to return to Tucker Hall.

“It’ll be a lot better than what we have now,” English professor Jack Martin said. “There were a lot of problems with the smell of Tucker. We’re hoping that it’ll be gone.”

The process to acquire the necessary funds for Tucker’s renovation goes through several levels of College and state bureaucracy.

The Advisory Committee on Space Management at the College approves building projects in a prioritized order. The list is then sent to the state every other year for validation.

If the College receives funds from the state later this month, Tucker renovations should be completed by spring 2012.

“We thought that it might be delayed based on the current state of the economy,” Director of Planning, Design and Construction Wayne Boy said. “It still could be, but there are indications that there might be funding.”

Tucker Hall’s renovation is just one of the projects of the College’s construction boom.

A new cooling addition and building, to be finished by October, is being constructed behind the Campus Center. This structure will eventually support a total of 27 buildings on Ancient and Old Campus.

“All this piping is 40 to 50 years old,” Boy said. “We’re starting to get to the point that some of these repairs are so frequent that it’s not economically affordable to keep repairing them.”

Facilities Management will begin to replace the pipelines and old cooling towers on campus beginning this summer with the narrow corridor between the Campus Center and Taliaferro Hall.

The addition will help the College save money on power, and provide a more reliable source of cooling in buildings across campus.

The long-awaited School of Education will be finished next month. Boy hopes that students and staff will begin moving into the building in the middle of May.

The Career Center is also under construction near Zable Stadium and the Sadler Center. Designed by the same firm in charge of Tucker Hall’s renovation, the building should be completed by October 2010.
Additions to Small Hall are nearly finished. Once the new labs are finished, construction crews will gut the original building and begin renovations on the 46-year-old structure.

The entire hall will be completed by next May.

Once the English department returns to Tucker Hall, there are plans for Tyler Hall to be renovated.

Once completed, the building will become the new home of the government, economics, public policy and international relations departments at the College.

All the current construction around campus has left Boy pleased, despite financing difficulties.

“I think that the College is a great place to be,” he said. “They’ve basically let me go hire the best people I can find, as long as I stay within budget. I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve got.”

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