BY ABBY BAKER '19
Lately, members of the Mount Holyoke community may have noticed construction on Skinner Green, directly in front of Blanchard Campus Center.
According to Paul Breen, director of Facilities Management and Planning, the construction is part of the Blanchard Community Center project. Breen stated by email that the work is being completed “to expose existing piping that carries chilled water around the campus.” Once the existing pipe is exposed, work will begin to install new piping and connect it to the center, thereby enabling Blanchard Campus Center to “take the ‘cold’ from the chilled water and use it to provide cool air when needed during warm weather in the new Center.”
Breen noted that the duration of the work is weather dependent, and that “the soaking rain of the last few days has been a setback.” If all goes according to plan, he expects that the work on Skinner Green will conclude in approximately three weeks.
Victoria Parrish ’19, who had previously attributed the construction to a sewage problem, was surprised to learn that the work is related to the Blanchard Community Center project, noting that she thought the construction “would have been constrained to Blanchard green.”
Parrish disagrees with the College’s decision to implement the Blanchard Community Center project, overall citing concerns about accessibility issues that could arise from centralized dining. “That’s a huge logistical issue that the administration hasn’t really addressed,” Parrish said. She also believes that centralizing dining will detract from “the cozy dining room feeling” of the current dining halls.
For Parrish, the construction on Skinner Green is an additional inconvenience for a project she disagrees with. “I don’t like SuperBlanch, and now they’re making Skinner Green look unappealing too,” she said.
Katie Cashin ’19, however, does believe that the new Blanchard Community Center project will have advantages, and is therefore unbothered by the construction on Skinner Green.
“I am looking forward to longer meal periods, because the current meal times do not work with my schedule,” she said. Cashin participates in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Air Force ROTC program, and is off-campus while dining halls are open for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving her with limited lunch options. Cashin hopes that the new development will deliver on its promise to provide more food options and longer dining hours.
“I am willing to compromise campus beauty and the convenience of in-dorm dining halls if they follow through with that,” she said.
If the construction is completed in three weeks, it will end on April 26. Pangy day, an outdoor spring celebration that traditionally takes place on Skinner Green, is scheduled for the 28.