Pomona Presents Master Plan

Over the course of the next 15 years, Pomona College could have a new residence hall south of Mudd-Blaisdell Hall and a new academic building where the Cottages are currently located. These two new buildings are just a small part of Pomona’s proposed 2013 Master Plan.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, Pomona College revealed its Master Plan for the next decade and a half. The Plan deals with physical space on campus, including building construction, open space, and walkways.

“I think the number of building projects that are in the works that are coming down the pipeline, 10 or 15 years ahead of time, we really have no sense that that’s even going on. It’s good that the administration is letting us know that it’s going on,” Laura Carr PO ‘13 said.

The Master Plan is not final but is an idea of what the campus could look like. The Plan will be presented to the City of Claremont in the next couple of weeks for approval. Pomona College Master Planner Scott Smith described the Plan as an “entitlement document,” and he said that the college is not committed to building everything in the Plan.

The presentation was the first of three aiming to publicize the information to the Claremont community and to receive feedback. Last night’s presentation was geared toward students, and the next meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m., will also be geared toward staff. A third meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 will be open to the entire Claremont community.

Dean of Campus Life Ric Townes said that student suggestions will be used to help improve the plan.

“How students are using the campus now will be factored in,” Townes said. “You have to get input from the users. The people who are here all the time should have input into what is being developed.”

Elizabeth Crighton, Interim Dean of the College, stressed at the meeting that the Master Plan is not a commitment to construction, and the Plan can be amended after initial approval. Crighton said that Pomona and Sontag Halls were not originally part of Pomona’s most recent Master Plan in 2004.

Smith said that another proposal listed under the category of facilities development is a “major reconstruction” of the Thatcher Music Building. He also said a proposal is to move the Pomona College Museum of Art and rebuild it in the “spirit of Pomona College.”

The Master Plan also addresses Oldenborg Center, which Smith referred to as a “goof.” On the Master Plan, there is a new proposed pedestrian walkway which would connect Oldenborg with the new studio art building and the Wash to the east. The new Oldenborg would also have a north courtyard with direct access to the dining hall.

Another potentially large change would be the creation of a new Eighth Street administration building. Smith said that Alexander Hall could potentially become an extension of the Smith Campus Center (SCC) in terms of student activity space, and that administrative offices from Alexander could be moved to the Eighth Street building.

Other facility proposals include new residence halls on North Campus where Lawry Court is currently located, Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Building reconstruction, and renovations and additions for Rembrandt Hall, Bridges Auditorium, Wig Hall, Rains Center, and Seaver North and South.

Though most of these construction projects are not set in stone, some are already in progress.

“There’s already planning on projects going on, such as the studio art construction and Millikan Laboratory building,” Smith said. “You’ll see those changes that we talked about in terms of the new courtyard space and walk to Skyspace in the next couple years.”

Of the proposed projects, Smith said that there is no prioritized list that will dictate the order.

The meeting also addressed pedestrian access on campus and safety, including crosswalk locations.

Student attendees, about 10 in total, were given the chance to express their concerns and critiques of the Master Plan. Multiple students expressed frustration over the accessibility and quality of the athletic facilities.

“Nothing’s going to change after this. We’re still going to get three new art buildings before we get new weights and a weight room,” Emma Wolfarth PO ’14 said.

Townes, however, said that student comments will be taken into account.

“All those suggestions made about the sports field can definitely be factored in to how they are developing the plan,” Townes said.

Other students found the discussion to be helpful.

“I think it’s a valuable opportunity for students to learn a little bit more about the background of how our campus comes to look how it actually looks and also to have a chance to give some input as well,” Carr said.

Carson Williams PO ’13 said he is optimistic that good things will come of the meeting.

“I think that this was surprisingly helpful for students and I wish more students would have come,” Williams said. “I think that we should have several more sessions of this, with students explicitly.”

Smith said that he found all the comments to be valuable.

“I think there were insights that I’d just never heard, and that’s the reason these student forums are so valuable,” Smith said. “This campus is your campus, and you use it in ways we could never imagine.”

Jennifer Jia and Kevin Tidmarsh contributed reporting for this article.

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