After the convocation for the incoming freshmen—and a few difficulties with the ribbon cutting scissors— officially opened the newly renovated New London Hall on Thursday.
The building houses the school’s biology, botany, and computer science departments. After a $25.3 million upgrade, it now has an additional 21,100 square feet of space. The 28 percent expansion adds additional research and teaching space and marks the end of a 26-month process, including 14 months of construction.
T. Page Owen, the head of the botany department, said he has been working just to renovate his kitchen in the same amount of time. He joked that the parties involved—architect Payette Inc. of Boston and construction company KBE Building Corp. of Farmington—might take it as their next project.
“This building has really been a labor of love for many people,” he said.
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Vice President Ulysses Hammond said the upgraded facility will allow for more collaboration and discussion among the departments. He said he was pleased to see the building completed on time and within its budget.
“It’s a fabulous facility,” he said. “It’s been a complex project. But we assembled just a first-rate team to work on design and construction.”
Katie Ketcham, a senior and computer science major, said it should help attract students and faculty. Other speakers agreed that the building represents a renewed commitment to the Connecticut College science program.
“The renovation and addition to New London Hall demonstrates the institute’s strong commitment to the sciences,” said Tom LeDuc, a junior and botany major. “Our beautiful building will be a fixture on campus for years to come and countless students will benefit from our state of the art facilities.”
“We had the oldest building on campus being used for botany and biology,” said President Leo Higdon, Jr. “Well, that is no longer the case.”
According to the college’s website, New London Hall was built in 1914 and named in honor of the residents of New London, who helped raise the funds to . The hall was designed to be the science building, but for a time it was the only academic hall on campus.
The construction included a modernization to a greenhouse built in 1935, installation of an electron microscopy suite as well as teaching and research laboratories, and the addition of classrooms and social spaces.
The project also included a number of environmental initiatives, namely a geothermal system to regulate the interior temperature via a water circulation system drilled 500 feet into Tempel Green. Workers reused materials from the original building and used other recycled materials or energy and water saving systems. The college is applying for LEED certification on the hall as part of its sustainability efforts.