Notes from the Field Station: Construction Update

27 Oct

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Above you can see some of the most recent pictures of the clearing and preliminary construction currently ongoing at the MacLeish Field Station for the Bechtel Environmental Classroom (BEC).

Smith College hired Scapes Builders, a green building company based out of South Deerfield, as the General Contractor for this project. Scapes is highly experienced in LEED/green building, having served as the General Contractor for the new LEED Gold Native Plant Center at Nasami Farm, among other notable projects. They are familiar with the site and its complexities, two of them being natives of Whatley themselves, and understand our Living Building Challenge aspirations for the project.

Thus far, Scapes has completed a reinforced temporary construction road to access the future site of the building, complete with erosion barriers (traditional and silt soxx). Additionally, the entirety of the building site has been selectively cleared of unwanted vegetation. This week Scapes will be working on digging the foundation for the building, as well as pouring concrete for the small basement that will house the chambers for the composting toilet and other mechanical systems. The design team and Scapes continue to evaluate materials with the Living Building Challenge to keep on track with the building schedule.

The current goal is to have the Bechtel Environmental Classroom open to the Smith Community in late April or early May, and to organize an official opening for the building in conjunction with Smith College commencement and the reunion weeks soon thereafter. Over the course of the summer the building will be utilized by summer research interns from Smith, in addition to attendees of the new field studies program, Field Studies for Sustainable Futures, a two-week residential program for High School girls. Beginning in Fall 2012, faculty will be able to reserve the BEC for class use.

-Jessa Finch (’12)

CEEDS MacLeish Intern

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