I had lunch to-day with the VPAA from Bates College. Bates is a good place, I swing through every year as I pass through Maine on my way to the Colby Conference. And though I would like to preserve the place, as if in amber, they do have to move with the times. There are a lot of building projects now underway, two of the old, landmark buildings were Roger Williams and Hedge–two beautiful Victorian piles that are undergoing modernization. Hedge is of particular interest to me, it was originally the chemistry laboratory, and I lived there for two years.
As it turns out, if you spend more than $100 K on a building, you have to bring it up to full ADA compliance. And ADA compliance for dorms are more extensive than most–corridors need to be widened, bathrooms modified (and Hedge surely needed it) elevators installed, the whole bit. With large buildings, you reach that threshold with more than a paint job.
Fortunately, the buildings are good and solid, and only need new windows to be insulated–single glazing doesn’t cut it during Maine winters. The old dorms are being transformed into faculty offices, because they would loose too much space to be dorms. That is kind of a pity, they had a lot of character, and it was fun to live there. It is also kind of amusing, Roger Bill was also the place where the folks who smoked a lot of pot lived. I wonder what faculty offices will be going in there…
The Bates website talks a lot about climate-neutrality. I wish they wouldn’t use those buzzwords, though I realize that they are popular. It just makes good sense to use double-glazing. That’s just good stewardship. I really wish the environmental movement would promote an ethic of stewardship instead of climate change. Though, stewardship isn’t sexy and self-loathing surely is.