Chase Hall, a much admired historic building, had traditionally served as the hub of campus life at Bates College. With development elsewhere on campus, including the construction of a large new dining commons, the venerated Chase Hall became outdated, inaccessible, underutilized, and was considered for demolition.
Originally built in 1917, the building underwent a series of additions and infills (in 1949, 1966, 1971) that resulted is a sectionally complex layout with multiple half-story levels that made much of the building inaccessible. Wayfinding was difficult at best.
Located partially below grade, the “Bobcat Den” lounge was dark and claustrophobic. It adjoined a dilapidated outdoor patio space adjacent to a scenic campus quad. Overgrown landscaping encircled the indoor and outdoor spaces, further contributing to their isolation from campus life. As the starting point for campus tours for prospective students and their families, the building, while elegant on the exterior, internally lacked any clear identity or indication of the culture and values that Bates College wished to express.
The design and construction team was to complete design and renovation in multiple phases over the course of two summer sessions. The project scope included:
- Renovations to the Bobcat Den and adjoining patio.
- Renovations to a disused dining hall into new home for the Office of Intercultural Education
- New corridor providing egress and ADA access throughout upper second floor level.
- Renovations to the main entry lobby.
- New men’s accessible toilet room.
- Removal of inclined lifts at stairs and installation of new four-stop vertical platform lift.
- Multiple wayfinding, lighting, finishes, and furniture improvements.
- Multiple life safety, egress, and accessibility upgrades.
The Bobcat Den has become a lively and engaging meeting place for students, faculty, and staff, the OIE proudly inhabits their vibrant new space, and Chase Hall has been revitalized as a center of campus life.