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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Facilities announces Stewart Hall renovations, finalizes new first-year residence hall project timeline

Construction on the new first-year residence hall is currently operating on schedule and will continue through the winter
Construction on the new first-year residence hall is currently operating on schedule and will continue through the winter

If the new first-year dorm is finished by spring break of 2025, first-year students living in Stewart Hall next year will move into the new building for the remainder of the semester in order to allow for construction on Stewart to begin, Middlebury announced in an Oct. 23 email. 

The college broke ground on the new first-year residence hall, which will be located on the north side of Battell Beach, at the end of June. The $50 million residence hall will be four stories tall with 148 doubles and two singles. 

If the new dorm is not completed in time for students to move over spring break, the dorm will open over the summer of 2025 and construction on Stewart will begin then as well. 

“Planning and concept designs for a deep renovation of Stewart Hall have been underway for several years,” AJ Place, associate dean of students for Residential Life wrote in an email to The Campus. “Stewart is in need of updating a number of items including windows, bathrooms, and hopefully the addition of an elevator to make the building more accessible.”

In addition to improving the outdated facilities in Stewart, the renovation project will also support Middlebury’s Energy2028 initiative by installing more energy efficient heating systems. 

“The [Stewart renovation] project is only in its planning and development infancy and the full scope of work has yet to be determined,” Norm Cushman, associate vice president for operations, wrote in an email to The Campus. “Preliminarily, it would be desirable to start work after the completion of the new residence hall. The expected duration of work will be determined once the full renovation program is better understood.”

The construction on the new residence hall is running on schedule and is moving on to the next phase, steel erection, which will allow for the placement of precast concrete decking. Facilities plans to continue construction during the winter months, according to Mike Moser, director of Facilities Services. 

“Looking forward, the structural construction elements of the new building are coming together well over the next few months,” Moser wrote in an email to The Campus. 

During the initial phases of the construction of the first-year dorm this fall, students living in Coffrin Hall experienced noise problems as site excavation began early in the morning. This led facilities to reevaluate the logistics of the project in order to accommodate student requests.

“Facilities directed the construction crews/company to not start the loudest projects first thing in the morning,” Place wrote. “There are also earplugs for students available in the Res Life office in Ross. We appreciate students’ patience during this project.”

When the new first-year dorm opens, Battell Hall will no longer be a first year residence hall. Instead, the space will become an art museum, as a part of a larger effort to enhance the arts at Middlebury. Plans for the renovation of Battell have not been finalized.

“We will keep students informed about the project as it progresses and share information about any potential impacts as appropriate,” Place wrote. “We are committed to keeping students and our whole campus informed while this exciting building is being constructed!”