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$52M Dartmouth Arts Center Plan Draws Criticism

Fri August 01, 2008 - Northeast Edition
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HANOVER, N.H. (AP) Dartmouth College is proposing a $52 million arts center.

The slate, stone and glass building would include a public park and a walkway linking the southern part of Hanover with the college green.

Dartmouth said the design is very different for Hanover, but they believe it would be an improvement. Members of a town group that convenes at the college to discuss potentially sensitive matters are not so sure. They have asked Dartmouth to redesign the exterior. Committee member and town Moderator Marilyn Black said the design is hideous.

The town has no say over how the building looks and the only town permit Dartmouth will need is site plan approval from the Planning Board. The board considers traffic, lighting, parking and the extent to which the building casts a shadow on neighboring buildings.

The 99,500-sq.-ft. building will house the school’s Studio Art Department and the Film & Media Studies Department and the Loew Auditorium would be moved to that space from the Hopkins Center. The new auditorium will have 45 more seats, for a capacity of 250.

One major donor has pledged about 75 percent of the building’s cost, said Mary Gorman, associate provost and executive officer at the college. She wouldn’t identify the donor or say how much would be given for the project. The person’s identity will likely be made public in the next six months, she said.

Construction is slated to begin in September 2009 and last two years. Before that work starts, however, the college must make room. Clement Hall, which houses the academic departments that will occupy the new arts center, and Brewster Hall, which houses international students, will be demolished. Both buildings were built in 1950.

The arts building was designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston. Its designs include the Getty Villa, a redesigned museum which houses the collection of J. Paul Getty, in Malibu, Calif.; the Honan-Allston branch of the Boston Public Library and Bowdoin College’s Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine.

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