Dear Pitzer Community,
Today we formally welcome the newest members of the Pitzer family, the Class of 2013, and I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for all you have done to prepare for the arrival of our new students and their families. Because of your work I am certain we will have our best ever Welcome Week.
In June I wrote describing the many projects scheduled to take place over the summer, and I’m pleased to share with you that all went well.
Classroom and Computer Lab Space
With the collaborative work of the modern languages and art faculty, IT, and the dean of faculty’s office, Broad Hall 208 is now set to serve as a dedicated Mac lab that will effectively be used for both language instruction and digital photography instruction. The sixteen Macs are capable of booting into the Windows environment for ample PC representation and the new machines have freed up counter space for student projects. The former Mac lab in Bernard 101 is now a dedicated seminar classroom (with proper seminar tables expected for delivery any day now) and the former PC lab in Bernard 103 is now a dedicated computer lab housing twenty PCs and eight Macs.
Two years ago Pitzer received one of the largest private donations ever given to the College for the renovation of Avery Auditorium, originally built in 1969. At the request of the donor Robert Day (chairman, president and CEO of the Keck Foundation) and with the blessing of the Avery family, it was agreed that the auditorium (but not the building) would be renamed the George C.S. Benson Auditorium in honor of Dr. Benson, a founding trustee of Pitzer College. Together with Pitzer’s namesake Russell K. Pitzer and its founding trustees, Dr. Benson helped define the key qualifications required for the first president of Pitzer College—character and determination, personality, executive ability and scholarship—and chaired the search committee that named John W. Atherton as Pitzer’s founding president.
The auditorium renovation, now fully underway with completion expected in the spring semester, is employing green building principles that include an HVAC system to reduce energy consumption as well as recycled carpeting and fiber seats. The entire interior of the auditorium is being replaced, new technology is being installed, and a large glass lobby is being added to the front of the building that will include pocket doors to facilitate performances in the lobby to be viewed from the lawn. Architect Brenda Levin’s plan also carefully preserved as many of the building’s murals as possible, including “Pitzer: Past, Present and Future” painted in 1997 by Pitzer students and artist Paul Botello (who will return to campus to restore and enlarge parts of the mural affected by construction). The serpent mural on the roof of Avery originally painted in 1973 by students and Peruvian artist Yando Rios will also be preserved. Strict building codes dictated that ADA compliant restrooms be constructed at the northwest entrance of the auditorium, which required building over several existing student and faculty murals. Fortunately, these murals and many others at Pitzer have been captured and preserved online in the Claremont Colleges digital library at http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/map.
The much needed upgrade to Avery’s electrical and HVAC systems impacted faculty offices on the second floor of Avery throughout the summer, and I would like to thank the nine faculty from Avery who were relocated to different spaces throughout campus to accommodate this project. Their patience and flexibility has been very much appreciated.
As work continued on the auditorium in June it was discovered that the black and white photography lab space (constructed over the original auditorium in the 1980s) was not in compliance with current health and safety codes, therefore it was required the labs be removed. The dean of faculty and art field group faculty have arranged to use Harvey Mudd’s black and white photography lab for the fall semester and discussion continues regarding usage for the spring. As we begin planning for the next phase of the residence halls and adaptive reuse of our older buildings as part of that project, we intend to work closely with both the art and media studies field groups in the planning to assure their instructional needs can be fully met on Pitzer’s campus.
Work continues on the new faculty/staff lounge in Avery with anticipated completion during the fall semester. As I reported this summer, the space will be equipped with all the amenities of the former Bernard faculty/staff lounge and those who had been primary users of the Bernard space continue to be consulted on plans for this new space.
Since announcing plans for Pitzer’s new café in Bernard Hall I have received very positive feedback from staff, faculty and alumni who look forward to the opportunity to sit and visit over a cup of coffee when on the west side of campus, while continuing to appreciate and enjoy the amenities offered at the Grove House and McConnell dining hall.
Bon Appetit (the company that manages McConnell dining hall) has provided significant financial support for the project and has agreed to oversee management of the café. A state-of-the-art espresso machine has been installed that will produce almost every type of coffee drink (both hot and cold) imaginable and Michael Becquet, Pitzer’s Bon Appetit manager, advocated for fair trade and organic coffee to be provided by Pura Vida, a company dedicated to “creating good.” More information on Pura Vida and their commitment to people and the environment is available at: http://www.puravidacoffee.com/. Consistent with Pitzer’s commitment to social responsibility, in conjunction with the philanthropy of Pura Vida, Bon Appetit will be donating $.25 for every pound of coffee purchased to Pura Vida’s charities. In addition to coffee, the café will initially carry a variety of natural juices and yogurt/fruit cups, freshly baked pastries, quiche, bagels, gourmet sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as specialty food items that have been prepared in the dining hall. Other menu items will be made available based on community input and demand.
This new café belongs to the Pitzer community, and as such, your input will regularly be solicited regarding its hours of operation, its menu, and especially its name. Initially it will be open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., closed on Wednesday mornings when the coffee cart is in operation, and depending on demand may be open in the evening and for special events. The café will officially be open for business on Tuesday, September 8 and I encourage all of you to stop by and submit your suggestion for the name of this new gathering space (limited to 25 characters total) as well as enjoy food and refreshments offered at half price throughout the day.
As a “grab’n’go” facility in a wonderful California climate, the café has been designed to maximize usable outdoor space by opening up (but keeping mostly intact) an original stone planter box to create a patio area scattered with new outdoor patio furniture. I look forward to seeing you there on what I expect will be my many visits for coffee and treats.
Projects on the horizon for 2009–10
In my summer letter I informed you about plans to expand the Duplicating Services space in Bernard as well as to centralize all faculty/staff mailboxes in the lobby of Scott Hall. The boxes, which are ergonomically designed, secured by combination locks and equipped with slots for easy mail delivery, will be installed during the fall semester.
Also this fall installation of the new campus signage—maps, wayfinding signs, and building and office signs—will be complete and work will begin on the new commencement plaza located at the southwest corner of campus. Work on the recreation area, which will include a basketball court and sand volleyball court, will begin as well. A lovely new art bench has been built adjacent to the future plaza site and is representative of the remaining art benches to be included in the design. We anticipate being able to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2010 at their graduation ceremony on the new plaza in May.
Other planning taking place in the fall includes the McConnell hall renovation project (a new east entrance, redesign of the second floor atrium, and installation of an ADA compliant elevator), installation of a greenhouse for Pitzer’s Vaccine Institute (location to be determined), and a Joint Science modular building complex to be located in Sanborn parking lot. We anticipate that the greenhouse will be installed for use during the spring semester and work on the Joint Science modular complex and McConnell will begin summer 2010. Planning for phase II of the residence life project will also begin in the fall.
I do hope you enjoy the changes that have taken place on campus over the summer and I look forward to sharing yet another wonderful year with you at Pitzer College.