What’s New and Improved? Links to New Facilities Described on this Page.
Note: Many of the descriptions and pictures are courtesy of the Williams College Facilities web site.
Mission Dodd Horn Hollander Shapiro Sawyer, Paresky Bernhard Art, Morley, Science Spencer, Dance, Chandler, Chaffee, Simon Weston Hopkins, jrc, book, inn
Dorms – Mission Park, Dodd House, Horn Hall
Classrooms – Hollander Hall (N. Hall), Shapiro Hall (S. Academic Bldg.)
Library – Sawyer Library
Student Center – Paresky Student Center
Music – Bernhard Music Center,
Art – Williams Museum of Art, Spencer Studio Arts Bldg., ’62 Ctr. for Theatre & Dance,
Science – Morley Science Center, North and South Science Bldgs.,(2019)
Sports – Chandler Athletic Facility, Chaffee Tennis House, Simon Squash Courts, Weston Field Athletic Complex
Administration – Hopkins Hall Addition,
Religion – Jewish Religious Center;
Bookstore – Williams Bookstore (Lower Spring Street)
New Williams Inn
Introduction: Nearly half the buildings at Williams are new since 1970. They are advertised as “energy efficient,” built for the internet age, and “organized to promote interdisciplinary learning.”
Prior to Reunion a new science center will replace Bronfman Science Center. Also, the Williams Inn will be rebuilt as a smaller facility at the bottom of Spring Street.
This page lists each new building or renovation since 1970. Many building renovations resulted in building name changes, too. The information is derived primarily from the college web site, and links to the pages are given after each building listed.
Here are two campus maps links, showing the campus in 1969, and today.
Mission Park (1971)
Mission Park, a freshman dorm, is located off Park Street near the Haystack monument. The dorm is made up of four sections, each of which has horizontal entries. The central spaces in Mission Park have great lounges with pool tables, a kitchen, and comfortable couches. Almost all the rooms in Mission Park are singles.
Dodd House (1974)
The former Williams Inn, Dodd is a white clapboard residential dorm building comprised of singles and doubles – and almost every room has its own bathroom. Most Dodd rooms are large, and the house itself boasts hotel-like amenities, a spacious common area with a nice kitchen on the first floor, and a grand piano.
Bernhard Music Center (1979)
The Bernhard Music Center, which is located behind Chapin Hall, contains two classrooms equipped with multimedia technology as well as well-maintained Steinway grand pianos, 23 practice rooms, 10 faculty offices, and concert and rehearsal spaces. Numerous concerts take place year-round in the 279-seat Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, along with all-college lectures, classes, and other events.
Williams College Museum of Art Expansion (Phase I-1983; Phase II-1986)
The first phase of the expansion of Lawrence Hall involved construction of a new wing off the south side of Lawrence. The back entrance features Ionic Order columns which cantilevers the space above (used for faculty lounge and offices), giving the back of the building an interesting composition. The new wing contains a big atrium that became the connecting link between the old and the new sections. The second phase involved the addition of new gallery space along with refurbishment of old rooms.
Chandler Athletic Facility (1987)
The new athletic facility was named for John Wesley Chandler, 12th President of Williams College 1973-85. It contains an Olympic-length eight-lane pool with a diving area (Samuelson-Muir Pool) as well as a basketball court with adequate spectator accommodations. The new building is located off Spring Street and is connected to the squash courts and Lasell gym. Lasell was extensively renovated when the Chandler facility was built.
Hopkins Hall Addition (1989)
Based on the Romanesque style of H.H. Richardson, Hopkins Hall was built as a memorial to Mark Hopkins (d. 1887). Built in 1897, Hopkins was gutted to the shell and completely renovated in 1988-1989 with an addition on the north end.
Hopkins houses the main administrative offices of the college.
Jewish Religious Center (1990)
The Jewish Religious Center (JRC) is home to the Williams College Jewish Association and Jewish life on campus. The JRC is located on Stetson Court, across from the Admissions Office.
This building of unique architecture serves as temple, meeting hall, library, and kitchen.
Chaffee Tennis House and Hunt ’44 Tennis Center (1993)
At the southwest corner of the College tennis courts, on the corner of Stetson Road and Lynde Lane, is the Clarence Chaffee Tennis House, which, together with six new hard courts, forms the core of the Torrance Hunt ’44 Tennis Center. Portions of the house contain trophies and memorabilia of Chaffee’s extraordinary 32-year career as coach of the College’s tennis, squash and soccer teams.
Spencer Studio Arts Building (1996)
Prior to the construction of this new building, the studio people had suffered in many locations throughout the campus, including the cellar of the Greylock Dining hall with no windows, in parts of the ex-Rudnick Laundry, in portions of the former Steele & Cleary garage and then Goodrich. The stone and glass structure, which is located on the far eastern end of campus, houses classrooms, studios, and faculty offices. Opening off the lobby of Spencer Art building, Wilde Gallery is the primary student exhibition space on campus. Used for class exhibits, critiques and student initiated individual or group shows, the gallery enables students to complete the art-making experience by presenting their work to the public as finished product.
Simon Squash Courts (1998)
In the 1990’s, the U.S. squash organizations decided that the game of squash would be improved considerably by increasing the width of the regulation squash courts to standardize our dimensions with the rest of the world. As a result, it was necessary to build new courts, as other schools were doing. In the fall of 1998, Williams formally dedicated the Carol Girard and Cynthia Stewart Simon Squash Center, thanks to the vision and generosity of Williams alum and former squash captain, William E. Simon, Jr. ’73. Boasting twelve cement-plaster courts (nine of them glass-backed), brand new coaches’ offices and housing the state-of-the-art Henze Fitness Center, it offers its players the finest squash facility in the country. The new squash courts are located adjacent to the Chandler Athletic Facility on Spring Street.
The Morley Unified Science Center (2000)
In September 2000, Williams celebrated the completion of the Unified Science Center project. This project included constructing a new building, the Morley Scientific Laboratory, and extensively renovating the four existing science buildings. The net result is that these buildings are now connected in a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary science facility.
Class of ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance (2005)
The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance provides teaching, rehearsal, performance, and technical spaces for the Williams College Department of Theatre, Department of Dance, Williams student performing ensembles, lectures and panel discussions, intercollegiate festivals, and nationally renowned visiting artists performing and working in collaborative residencies with students. The Center is named in honor of the Williams College Class of 1962, whose members envisioned the state-of-the-art venue for performing arts at Williams. The ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance is the summer home of the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Paresky Center (2007) (Formerly, Beloved Baxter Hall)
The new student center has been named Paresky Center in honor of a substantial gift from David Paresky ’60 and his wife, Linda, in support of the college’s endowment and financial aid program. Paresky attended Williams on full financial aid and says he both felt the obligation, and cherished the opportunity, to give others a similar educational advantage. Paresky Center occupies the site of the former Student Union, which was demolished. In addition to lounge areas and student organization meeting rooms, Paresky boasts four separate dining rooms, including the “snack bar,” which is a reproduction of the snack bar from the original Student Union.
Hollander Hall (2008) formerly North Academic Building
The North Academic Building, completed in 2008, was re-named in 2010 as Hollander Hall, named by Richard and Jackie Hollander in honor of their sons Jordan and Adam, both members of the Class of 2010. This facility houses classes for the humanities and faculty offices. Hollander Hall along with the Bernhard Music Center and Chapin Hall form northerly part of a quadrangle that is composed of Stetson Hall and Sawyer Library to the east; Hopkins Hall and Schapiro Hall to the south; and Paresky Center to the west.
Shapiro Hall (2008) formerly South Academic Building
Opened as the South Academic Building in July 2008, the building was renamed Schapiro Hall in April 2009, honoring then College President Morton Owen Schapiro. Like Hollander Hall, Schapiro Hall houses classes for the humanities and faculty offices.
Weston Field Athletic Complex (2014)
The newly re-configured Weston Athletic Complex opened in the fall of 2014, and is home to Eph football, track and field, lacrosse, and field hockey teams, while also providing practice and game fields for the soccer teams in case of unplayable field conditions at Cole Field.
The complex consists of two separate turf fields, Farley-Lamb Field (long turf) for football and lacrosse, and Williamson Field (short turf) for field hockey. Both fields and the track are lighted to allow for night practices and games. The Eph track and field team races and practices on the eight-lane Lee Track, which encircles Williamson Field. Jumping pits are alongside Williamson Field and at the end of the field. The surrounding field areas are used for field events.
A team support building, located at the south end of Farley-Lamb Field provides all the teams with countless resources. The building contains four sizable home locker rooms, two for men, and two for women, in addition to separate locker rooms for coaches.
The Ephs also have access to a training room complete with an examination room, a hydrotherapy room, and a taping room. On the second floor, the teams enjoy a spacious multipurpose room.
Teams can use the filming deck to film games or practices from a behind-the-goal line view. The building also contains offices for coaches, a laundry room, and a massive storage area for equipment. There are viewing decks on both sides of the building for spectators. This complex gives Williams’ athletes sports facilities that are among the best in NCAA Division III.
Horn Hall (2016)
Horn Hall is the first residence hall built in 40 years at Williams College. Horn Hall, located on Stetson Court, houses 60 sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Horn Hall is named for Joey and Ragnar Horn, alumni of the classes of 1987 and 1985, respectively.
The 25,000-square foot residence hall contains 40 single rooms and 10 doubles organized into six-person suites that share a bathroom. It has several lounge rooms, study areas, a collaborative meeting room and classroom space, and a backyard with patio space for entertainment or meeting space. The building has many sustainability features including low-flow plumbing fixtures, triple-glazed windows, additional exterior insulation in the roof and walls, LED light fixtures, and occupancy sensors. The college is pursuing LEED Gold certification for the building.
Chapin Hall Plaza and the New Quad (2016)
Chapin Hall Plaza was a multi-phased transformational project that creates a new pedestrian friendly green space/academic quad in the heart of campus and completes the east/west axis from the 62’ Center to the new Sawyer Library.
During the summer of 2015 the old Sawyer Library was demolished and replaced with concrete walks and the extensive landscaping was planted. Concrete walks that traverse the quad at various locations also were added. A new plaza was created in front of Stetson Hall to compliment the significance of that historical structure and complete the entrance to the new Sawyer library.
The existing concrete stairs that connected Chapin plaza with the new quad area were replaced with a series of granite steps surrounded by large marble blocks that create opportunities for gathering and social interaction. Chapin Drive and the plaza in front of Chapin Hall were also reconstructed with brick and granite pavers that complement the more predominantly pedestrian features of these spaces.
Sawyer Library (2017)
This project represents the culmination of a 12-year effort to reimagine Williams College’s library and restore the campus’ historic Stetson Hall, which served as the library and now continues in an archival role by housing rare original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The results fuse new and old, intertwining the college’s historic roots with the forward-looking views of its scholarly community. A library constructed in the 1970s (former Sawyer Library) eclipsed Stetson Hall’s presence on campus, and its large volume diminished pedestrian flow. Two additions to Stetson Hall’s rear served as faculty housing, relegating them to the campus perimeter, far from classes and student activity. The first phase of the project was to relocate faculty to two new academic buildings, followed by placing the new Sawyer Library in the space previously occupied by faculty housing. This has restored Stetson Hall’s stature as a campus destination and connects it and the library to Williams’ student center via new green space. Stetson Hall’s interior and exterior were meticulously restored, and its reading rooms and gallery spaces house items from the Chapin Rare Books Library.
For the new 132,000-square-foot library, the team focused on collaboration. It features a wide range of solo and group study environments, and splits the space into two distinct zones: one for collaboration and one for collections. The collaboration zone is split among three levels that house reference materials, technology, and rare books. The library’s monographs are spread across four levels and are readily browsed. Study carrels ring the stacks and provide sweeping views of the Berkshire Mountains.
Sawyer Library illustrates how sustainable planning and design can deliver inspiring architecture that supports social interaction, foster a sense of community, and provide environmental stewardship. Sustainability in every sense of the word drove the design and provided the motivation to restore Stetson Hall to its former glory. Other sustainable features include optimized construction systems and natural lighting, which energizes the library’s significant footprint through two major atria and a four-story light reflector that distributes clerestory light into the heart of the building. To further bolster Stetson Hall’s prominence, the new library’s roof is tucked below its cornice line. More views of the Sawyer Library are shown below.
Williams Bookstore (2017)
Williams opened this 10,000-sq. ft. bookstore, cafe, and event space in August 2017. Located towards the end of Spring Street, the Bookstore is the place to buy course books and general interest titles, attend readings by Williams faculty and guest authors, study or relax with friends over coffee, and browse a wide selection of official Williams apparel and merchandise.
The first floor includes a new cafe operated by Tunnel City. The second floor includes a private meeting room available for use by college departments and local organizations. The third-floor offices are currently leased by Overland, an organization that brings teenagers from around the country to Williamstown for global travel experiences.
Works In Progress
In late 2017, Williams commenced construction of two important facilities, a new science center to replace Bronfman, and a new Williams Inn to be located at the end of Spring Street. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2019 (Williams Inn) and 2020 (Science Center), respectively.
Science Center Renewal Project (2020)
The Science Center Renewal Project includes design and construction of two new science building, which together will add 178,000 square feet to the existing Unified Science Center. The two buildings are the south building (~77,000 sq. ft.) and the north building (~101,000 sf. ft.). Also as part of the project, the existing 90,000 sq. ft. Bronfman Science Building will be demolished. Also included in this project are two new classrooms in Show Library and the renovation of the biology labs. The project began in 2017 and is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2020.
The South Building is under construction and anticipated to be completed in May 2018. In the spring of 2018, Bronfman will undergo asbestos abatement and during the summer of 2018 it will be demolished to make way for the new North building, which is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2020.
New Williams Inn (2019)
Construction began in the fall of 2017 for a new Williams Inn. The site is located off the end of Spring Street. There’ll be 60 guest rooms, a function room for up to 200 people, small meetings rooms, and a restaurant with 35-50 seats and an accompanying bar. There’s the possibility of adding, now or in the future, an annex with 40 guest rooms, which would be available at peak times, but not need heating, etc. There’ll also be a patio and location for a tent.
The current Williams Inn has 116 functional guest rooms, a similarly sized function room, and a somewhat larger restaurant/bar. The goal of the new building is to serve visitors and those of us who live here and who gather at the inn for events such as banquets, chamber breakfasts, weddings, bat mitzvahs, and receptions after memorial services. The new Williams Inn is expected to open in the Fall of 2019.
Sources: Various Williams College web sites and Reflections on the Architectural History of Williams, Whitney S. Stoddard, Author, Thomas W. Bleezarde, Editor, and Arthur D. Evans, Photographer, 2001. See also Williams College Facilities web site.