Pingree Plans A Facelift

Savvas Varitimos, Editor

In a recent meeting held by the Student Life Committee, both students and faculty opened up dialogue by outlining the future of Pingree’s campus. The call for this discussion follows the most recent additions to the campus: the turf field which lies beyond the soccer fields, and the school’s modern athletic center. In order to find out more about the process, and what vast possibilities exist for the Pingree grounds, I interviewed some members of faculty. Ms. Mathey, the Associate Director of Advancement, was also generous enough to send the New Columns the responses to an all-school survey sent out a few weeks ago that gauge the wants and needs of the students population compared to those of faculty.

Upon sitting down with her, I learned that she is a part of a designated committee of faculty members who convene on a regular basis to propose new projects for expansion. Ms. Mathey stated that, “the Ad Hoc Place Committee is looking into several of the proposals this spring.” Excitingly enough, some of these plans have already been sketched by an architect who has begun drawing plans for a Fitness/Wellness Center on the north end of the hockey rink, as well as improvements to the rink lobby. While addressing the concerns of the student body, Ms. Mathey was able to answer the question: What are the most pressing interests? To this, she expanded on how, “The committee is looking at repurposing some spaces to accommodate more classrooms, expanding space for the Quant Center and ERC, and finding creative spaces for study options.” The student survey is also very evident of the growing desire for independent spaces. Out of the twenty ideas circulating, an astounding 27% — roughly 1 out of every 4 students — expressed enthusiasm for this goal in particular.

Though all of these ideas do provoke a newfound interest, the biggest challenge is always, how do we pay for this. Of course, since nothing yet has been set into stone, the practical means for how the school can afford this have not been entirely thought out. “We have a few alumni donors who are making large donations to build the Fitness/Wellness Center but we need to raise more money,” Mathey says. “We hope to have a small group of donors willing to support to the track project. Our highest priority as we plan our next capital campaign is to support the people who make Pingree so special with gifts to endowment. Endowment gifts will support increased financial aid and access funds, as well as teacher salaries and benefits.”

Lastly, I asked the question: What challenges might the school face in reconstruction? Ms. Mathey spoke of how the committee tries their best to balance the ideas of adding additional pieces to the campus, while exploring other options regarding the current set up of the school. A common theme in the survey revealed that both students and faculty feel similarly towards the possibility of renovating the main building. Due to the 1930’s style and issues with accessibility in the old household once occupied by the Pingree family, some individuals stressed an increased focus on what already exists on the campus, before moving on.

On a whim, I also decided to look at some other original ideas which caught my eye: the potential for a new amphitheater was brought up, as well as increasing the size of team locker rooms, and constructing an indoor pool.