Bulfinch Renovations Near Final Stages, Await Trustee Vote Next Week

The Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) hopes to break ground on Bulfinch renovations on June 4, but Trustees will not officially finalize the renovation plans until a meeting on February 3. Once the trustees confirm their support of the renovation plants, OPP will offer a contract to subcontractors to move forward into the beginning phase of the construction process. The Bulfinch renovations will continue throughout the summer and fall term of next year, according to Jeffrey Domina, Chair of English Department. Domina said, “With the chance of things going smoothly and quickly, we will be able to move into the renovated building during Fall Term [2012]. But at the very latest, they will be finished in time for us to start next Winter Term [2013].” The architects, subcontractors and OPP are currently focusing on the details of the construction process, such as the electrical construction and material selection, according to Domina. He said, “The project totally respects the quirks and the aesthetic details of the existing building.” “The OPP loves this old building as much as [the English Department does], and they are doing a great job of finding ways to get it up to code and make it more suited to what we need in 2012 without downgrading the historic aspects of the building,” Domina added. Fundraising for the renovations also recently wrapped up. Domina said, “Mrs. Chase and OAR [Office of Academic Resources] passed a big fundraising target just a couple of weeks ago. [The project] reflects the generosity of the alumni and other donors.” “It also puts us in a position to be able to afford the work without putting the school into debt. So we are really optimistic now that the trustees will vote ‘yes,’” Domina continued. According to Larry Muench, Director of Facilities, OPP will erect a fence around the construction site in order to separate it from the community. The English Department will need to relocate certain English classes to classrooms across campus for the duration of the Bulfinch renovation, said Domina. Teachers will hold classes in different academic buildings, perhaps even utilizing dorm common rooms. The main renovations will center on making the building ADA accessible, with new changes including the construction of an external handicap ramp, said Muench. New bathrooms and an elevator will be constructed. The renovated building will also include one additional classroom and a larger, multi-use AV room in the place of the current debate room. Domina said, “[The AV room] will be great for films, classes joining together for activities, visiting writers, debates and scene works from class plays. It’s going to be a cool, personal room.” Muench said that Bulfinch’s interior will feature refinished hardwood floors and new finishes. The exterior brickwork will be cleaned, the roof and cupola will be repaired and new windows will be installed. The scope of work also includes a 1,600 square foot, one-story addition on the southeast side off the basement. In addition to the renovations to the building, there will be an outdoor classroom, named in honor of Jean St. Pierre, Instructor in English at Abbot Academy and Andover, who is the only woman to have ever chaired the English Department. This outdoor classroom will be constructed with a grant from the Abbot Academy Association.