MOLLY SCHINELLER ’18
The construction of the new building on Crescent Street has come to a halt due to a recent questioning of its potential uses. Up until this point, the space was being built to rehouse the Cave and the Barnes and Noble bookstore. This past Friday, however, President Berger-Sweeney addressed the school in a global email to Trinity College, voicing the concerns of several professors and members of the faculty. In her email, she states “I have received feedback that the new Crescent Street building should be put to use in support of our academic programs… The new building will encompass more than 11,000 square feet, allowing it to accommodate multiple academic programs and purposes.”
Berger-Sweeney has expressed that it is not too late to change the direction of the building’s formation. “The construction is at a critical juncture,” she says, “with the beginnings of an outside structure in place but with some flexibility still remaining to change the interiors for different use.” To support this point, Kirchoff Campus Properties has agreed to pause their construction for the time being, until a decision is reached about the fate of the new space. To hear input from as many voices as possible on the issue, Interim Dean of Faculty Sonia Cardenas and Melanie Stein will host a discussion open to all members of the Trinity community, on Thursday, February 18, 12:15-1:15 in McCook Auditorium. Berger-Sweeney hopes open discussion based meetings will become a permanent fixture in the college’s decision-making process.
Students have already begun their conversations about the potential uses for the new building. In response to Berger-Sweeney’s suggestion that the space be used to solve the “pressing academic space needs,” students have expressed mixed opinions already. TJ Lee `17 says, “It seems like there are already enough spaces for academic programming. During every class period, I always see plenty of empty classrooms.”
Max Le Merle `16 suggests, “There should be some sort of grocery store for Crescent houses, but it would have to be done very carefully to avoid segregating Crescent Street students from the general campus.” Le Merle has also noted that he sees another potential use for the building in creating a common space for SGA, Student Life, and Residential Life offices.
Although there is good reason to pause the building’s construction, the administration is bound to receive some blowback from the Crescent Street community. Most students living in townhouses have complained that the construction is a drastic inconvenience. Sherri Liao `18 says, “It makes it such a hassle for us to get to class. This really takes away from the Crescent experience.” Liao goes on to ask, “What are we paying all this extra money for at this point?” Many other students have agreed with these views, and have voiced hopes that the Crescent community will receive some sort of reimbursement for their inconvenience, especially due to the increase in townhouse prices in recent years.
All the opinions heard around campus so far have been reasonably varied, but a conclusion will hopefully be reached after these views and ideas are presented at the general meeting next Thursday.