Construction of Expanded Science Center, New Bookstore to Begin at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 8, 2016—Site work is slated to begin this week on the next phase of a multi-year project to expand the Unified Science Center at Williams College. Construction crews will begin blasting and ledge removal behind the Morley Science Labs to build an approximately 77,000 square-foot expansion to house new research labs for biology, chemistry, and physics.

The ledge removal is slated to take place Monday through Friday and to last approximately five weeks. When complete, it will allow for the placement of concrete footings and foundations in late July or early August. The concrete work is expected to last about two months, followed by structural steel placement in the fall. The building will be substantially completed by February 2017.

Last year, site work began behind Morley Science Labs with one house moved to a new location and a second demolished.

Modular classrooms and a temporary office building also will be erected this summer to serve students and faculty this fall during construction. The college also has added classrooms to Schow Science Library.

Demolition of the Bronfman Science Building will get underway in 2018, and the college will construct a similarly sized replacement for it that will provide faculty offices and more classroom space. The science center project will be completed in 2020 at an estimated cost of $204 million.

The buildings will be constructed to LEED Gold sustainability standards, in keeping with the college’s green-building guidelines aimed at reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Together the two new buildings will increase the entire science complex’s footprint by 30 percent, yet they will use significantly less energy than the existing Bronfman building.

Also this summer, the college anticipates starting construction on a new bookstore located at the corner of Spring and Walden streets in Williamstown, pending town approval of the plan details. The new bookstore, which will be a little less than 15,000 square feet and three stories tall, will be run by Follett, replacing its current location on Water Street. It will include a small café on the first floor and commercial office space on the third floor. The bookstore is expected to open in August 2017. Site work is expected to start in mid-June. The estimated cost of the project is $10.5 million.

The projects are expected to bring construction-related traffic to the area, especially on Walden Street, which will be the main point of entry to the Science Center work site this summer. All construction vehicles will be prohibited from traveling on Spring and Hoxsey streets, and will instead access the site from Stetson Court on the west and Latham Street on the east.

Contractor parking will be limited to a small number of signed locations. The public may continue to park in all of the currently available public lots, including the former town garage site on Water Street.

“We’re working hard with the town and with Spring Street merchants to mitigate the effects of this construction, especially regarding traffic and parking,” said Rita Coppola-Wallace, executive director of design and construction. “People who come to the street will be aware of the work going on to varying degrees depending on what’s taking place at that particular day and time. And all the businesses on Spring Street should be able to remain open their usual hours.”


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.


Published June 8, 2016