The Board of Visitors and Governors has approved WC's 2006 master plan, which includes renovating the Gibson Performing Arts Center and the dining hall in addition to building three new dorms. The total cost of implementing the Capital Plan over the next seven years, combined with operating costs and other expenses, could reach $111 million.
The Gibson renovations, scheduled to start in the spring, will be the first part of the plan implemented. A music recital hall, an experimental theatre, additional classrooms and offices, individual rehearsal rooms and a climate-controlled art gallery are some of the proposed features.
The next phase of the master plan calls for the construction of three new dormitories to house 300 students. The buildings, to be located near Harford Hall, will include rooms that are either suite-style, like the Western Shore dorms, or semi-suite-style, like Harford. The college expects the dorms to draw approximately 170 off-campus students back to campus residence halls; the remaining space will accommodate new students.
Ayer/Saint/Gross Architects have been chosen to design the new structures; sustainability, including the potential use geothermal technology, will be part of the design and construction guidelines.
The dining hall will be modernized as part of the Capital Plan; details of the renovations, however, have not yet been determined.
Improvements to the OIT facilities are also included in the master plan. The upgrade will, either by constructing a new facility or converting an existing one, create a climate-controlled computing center and space for other computer-related services and equipment.
In other matters:
-At its quarterly meeting last Saturday, the Board approved a diversity statement, supporting the college's mission of increasing open discussion of diversity on campus.
-The Board approved the establishment of a scholarship in honor of former WC President Charles H. Trout.
-Dean Christopher Ames gave a presentation on the U.S. News & World Report rankings and WC's plans to better its standing. Plans to increase faculty salaries and draw more alumni donations will boost the college's name recognition and help WC improve the peer assessment aspect of the rankings, which account for 25 percent of the school's total score.