10 thoughts on “Feedback from Last Night’s Meeting at Carleton re: Arts Center and new dorm”

  1. Um, Gilly, Tracy’s sick today. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Tracy pass out at the Blue Monday last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

  2. Frankly, I think that this site could use some Ferris Bueller quotes…

    …however, let’s save this comment section for those on last night’s Community Gathering at Carleton College.

  3. Griff,

    Last night’s meeting at Carleton included information about a new dormitory that they’re building on campus as well as plans for the old middle school site. The former is coming along much more quickly than the latter, and they expect to break ground this spring on the dormitory.

    The Arts Center project sounds like it still has quite some ways to go. They have building footprints pretty well worked out, and they’re working on floor plans. Based on the drawings they had, it looked like they were pretty close on those as well.

    I was disappointed that they didn’t have exterior elevations to show, though it sounds like they are early in the planning stages of the exterior. We were told that it was quite possible there would be a lot of glass involved. (The architects are MS&R Architects out of Minneapolis; check their website for some examples of what they may be talking about – http://www.msrltd.com)

    The oldest section of the middle school (1910) will remain more-or-less intact, while the various additions will be significantly redone or demolished. One aspect of an earlier design which had been concerning to some neighbors was the proposed height of the buildings, which had been expected to be 4 stories. We were told that now they’re planning on only 3 stories, which will be significantly shorter than the height of the 1910 building.

    There were some heated moments toward the end of the evening involving neighbors’ concerns, primarily focused on parking. Additional parking was not a feature on any of the drawings, and it appears that the Carleton folks expect that the staff and students will use street parking. They made reference to some data they had, which suggested that parking demand might even be lower than when the middle school was operating (I think this was based on suppositions that all the teachers and staff at the old middle school would drive there, and that almost none of the future college students would, though I didn’t catch all the details).

    It’s an exciting project, and I hope the college continues to look for public input on it.

  4. To follow up on Steve’s remarks

    First, a “new” Community Connections website was announced at the meeting:

    http://apps.carleton.edu/community/

    Clicking the Campus Projects link will lead you to outdated information on the new dorm. I hope they’ll update this soon since the possible locations noted on the site are no longer under consideration and the chosen location is along 1st Street between Maple and Nevada (south of the Languages and Dining Center, forming a small quad with that bldg and Myers & Nourse dorms).

    The new dorm is obviously a priority for the Trustees and the College has set a very aggressive timetable for its design and construction – construction this Spring.

    Fred Rogers, VP and Treasurer, described the plans/elevations presented as “conceptual.” My time on the planning commission taught me, mostly by hindsight alas, that traffic patterns and parking (pedestrian, auto, and service vehicle) are crucial and often not considered sufficiently at the planning and approval levels. From the quick peek at the concepts, I’d say they’ve considered how pedestrians will move from Watson/Maple Street across the new quad toward the center of campus. The movement and parking of cars & service vehicles (and loading docks, trash/recycling) have not been thought through. The dorms will displace a parking lot (used primarily by faculty and staff), create more service traffic, and more student cars on or near campus.

    The dorms will require a conditional use permit (public hearing at the Planning Commission; approval by the Council) and I hope that plans will be scrutinized carefully during this process and neighbors will weigh in.

    The Arts Complex…Dean Scott Bierman certainly has great enthusiasm for this project (which he described as “phenomenally complex” which should send up a red flag, IMHO), but he didn’t have anything else – neither he nor Fred Rogers had answers for audience members questions whether about the appearance of the building, provisions for parking, or what the impact would be on Central Park.

    Since the College does not yet have the money to begin construction of Phase I (and after Phase I would have to raise add’l capital for Phase II), there is probably time to lobby the College to consider the neighborhood context of this complex rather than simply the program needs and square footage required inside the building.

    Much, much more thought is needed on this project.

  5. Yet Another POV: I didn’t feel well Wednesday evening (as “Celebrity Lurker , Dr. Steve Lawler can attest to by my visit to him yesterday; Oh the joys of a small town) but I came away with somewhat mixed feelings.

    It will be a beautiful and intensely rationalized, well funded project; that is inherent in Carleton’s process. I also have NO doubt , absolutely none, that the parts of this building which are available for public participation will be an immeasurable boon to the community.

    But to balance that community benefit, must be an equal obligation to the issues caused by the insertion of this “prong” of the campus into the neighborhood. And as “phenomenally complex” as the building is, so are the resulting issues to the neighborhood. And, IMHO, that is where the problem with the public meeting lay.

    The issues of parking ,especially, seemed to cause quite a level of discomfort among the various levels of Carleton Staff; they seemed to not deem this as serious as they should have. By the time they have their next meeting, I would hope they would have explored and made initial plans for developing all the possible parking available on their near lots,possibly even empty spaces which they own but do not currently use for parking.

    It was too bad that the computer failed to bring up the building elevations, when that may/maynot have allayed some “fear” of the scale of the building in the neighborhood. Removing the entire 4th floor of the project , which has been done conceptually, should go a long way in that direction.

    I think one party most impacted by this, will be the UCC Church. When I think of the number of times I have been there for funerals/ memorial services, and 3-400 people are in that church, that seems like a real parking issue. Those are daytime occasions, so it would not usually conflict with evening theatre or cinema use, but it must be worked out to the Church’s satisfaction.

    How Carleton works out this initial “relationship” issues will be very important to their ongoing interaction with the community. I LOVE the colleges; I agree with Victor that they are our very elevated “industry”. The quality of life opportunities they offer are a major reason of why we live here.

    How they handle this development project is very important to the ongoing perception that they are a fabulous “neighbor” to have; I feel certain they will, in the end, handle this well …even if they’re somewhat aggravated behind some closed doors on that wonderful campus.

  6. My only hope is that artists will try and use as many non-toxic materials as possible, including glues, paints and reusable brushes all the way to non toxic paint removers. This goes for the building materials, too.

    Any toxic materials should have a communal method to recycle or reuse these types of materials, such as special wash sinks and disposal containers.

    Think Green!

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