BY NICOLE VILLACRES '18
Construction continues at Smith College as the college works to revitalize a new entrance gate at College Lane and Elm Street. The entrance marker project is in its second phase, which includes construction of a new sign and other utility work.
With the changes, the college hopes to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety and increase visibility of the main entrance, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The project will create a new main entrance for cars while still preserving the older trees in the area. Changes have been made to make the intersections more visible and to relocate sidewalks.
The new entrance gate incorporates brick, limestone and granite into what Smith spokeswoman Stacy Schmeidel calls a "classic, timeless design," as reported by the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Construction began in May with phase one. During the summer, extensive work was done on utility lines, poles and sidewalks. The college worked with utility companies such as National Grid and Columbia Gas in constructing new sewer, gas and water lines, so that they would be easier to maintain, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The work done in the summer was that which required the most road closures and pedestrian traffic being re-routed.
As the school year resumes, efforts have been made to keep traffic flow moving as smoothly as possible, according to Peter Gagnon, director of capital construction at Smith, as quoted in a statement released by the college. College Lane has been outfitted with privacy fencing to allow access through the gate, without interrupting the work.
College Lane has reopened, according to Schmeidel, as quoted in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The project has not caused many disruptions to the Northampton community and the work has received praise.
"It's a great project," said Wayne Feiden, director of planning and sustainability for Northampton, as quoted in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. He praised the college not only for improving its visibility, but also for the public improvements made to the utilities. When the new sidewalks were created, they were done so with concrete and not asphalt. Feiden noted how the project also improves the Northampton streetscape.
Updates to the project and all other current constructions at Smith are available online on Google Maps.