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The Scarlet & Black

Construction on new HSSC begins

MAYU SAKAE Construction on the new HSSC, which used to be between Noyce and the JRC, is projected to be finished in its entirety in the fall of 2020.
Construction on the new HSSC, which used to be between Noyce and the JRC, is projected to be finished in its entirety in the fall of 2020. Photo by Mayu Sakae.

The grassy area that used to allow for easy passage from Noyce to the ARH has been replaced with a cordoned off construction site. The new Humanities and Social Sciences Complex (HSSC) is a project that the administration has been planning for the last five years.

Kate Walker, Treasurer of the College, who is chairing the Building Projects committee, says that construction is currently in the beginning stages. “The construction of the new chunk of the HSSC will actually be going through January of 2019, so we may very well be able to use it in spring semester [of 2019].”

The HSSC building will be open to house faculty offices around the time that the renovations in the ARH and Carnegie will be made, so the Committee believes that the total construction of the project, not just the new building, will be done sometime in the spring or summer of 2020.

“We should be able to use the whole building in fall of 2020,” Walker said.

The schedules made for building completion are tentative, and things will change, but as of now the HSSC is on target for completion by 2019. “There will inevitably be some surprises, particularly when we start working with the historic buildings,” Walker said.

The plans show that the interior space of the new project to resemble the styles of both the ARH and the JRC. It will be filled with many new offices, lecture halls, classrooms and student lounges.

According to Walker, in the production of this new building, the administration is focused on providing a greater level of accessibility. “Throughout this whole building we have a really high commitment to accessibility … all the restrooms have a group men’s bathroom, a group women’s, and a gender neutral.” Walker said. “We’ve widened the halls so that there’s radius for wheelchairs, several of the classrooms will have induction looping for hearing-impaired individuals [and] we located elevators in close proximity to stairways so that people who use them don’t feel like a second class citizen.”

The historic nature of the building is something that the administration has had to account for while planning the project. Walker said that they have done laser scans and other tests to determine the structure and integrity of the building. “Historic buildings tend to have ‘fun’ things going on behind the walls, so there’s almost always something that’s going to come up,” she said.

Walker said that the construction company and the Committee have arranged to make a “safe site” that will still allow for the College to have access to the Central Campus Stage for Commencement in May. “It’s very close, we’ll probably have some kind of fancy banner [covering the construction] but they were able to move the space so that we can use the commencement site,” she said.

Most students currently on campus will get little opportunity to use the new building, due to the duration of the project, but Walker has a suggestion for all those students who will leave before its completion: “Come back for reunion!”

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