CMC Gets a Facelift: Summer Construction

A new year, a new… campus? While you spent your summer soaking up that sun and tanning your way to a new you, Claremont McKenna got a new look of its own. In addition to completing the five-level, 162,000 square-foot Kravis Center, CMC  made significant renovations to its existing buildings and landscape. Frank Perri, CMC’s Director of Construction, oversaw the construction of the Kravis Center and the renovation of the Athenaeum. Brian Worley, Director of Facilities and Campus Services, was responsible for the many other 2011 summer projects. Said Worley of the summer construction, “This is the busiest that CMC has been in a long time.”

Over 240 faculty and staff have been re-located throughout campus. Most of those moved have found their new homes in the Kravis Center, which will serve as the campus’ largest academic and administrative facility. The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum also underwent a serious face-lift with the renovation of its entire first floor.

Across the way, Bauer South has made room for the Robert Day School with the addition of faculty offices, student lounges, and study areas on the second floor. Worley was happy to have concentrated RDS facilities into one, connected space and says the changes are definitely worth a look.

All students will benefit from the reconfiguration of the Frazee area, which formerly housed the Faculty Support Center. Now, Frazee will include a large study area, a meeting room, and a workroom for student organizations. “We’re giving the space back to the students,” Worley stated.

While the Kravis Center may be the most observable change on campus, North Quad residents might beg to differ. As part of its many landscaping changes, CMC removed several non-native pine trees near Wohlford and Boswell after consultation with an arborist. Worley stated that the trees were removed “both for life-safety reasons and because they were seriously impacting the growth of the native oak trees.”

At Story House, new trees were planted while eight oak trees were relocated along Amherst Avenue and Sixth Street. Beckett terrace is undergoing a re-landscaping, and Worley has said the project will serve as a “lab” for future terrace projects at both Berger and Marks. The Beckett terrace construction should be complete within the following two weeks.

New landscaping has also led to the creation of what Worley calls “Boswell Beach,” a grassy area on the south side of Boswell for general student lounging and enjoyment. The removal of several block walls near Boswell and Green will allow for better use of campus space. Worley has noted that CMC is looking to expand bicycle parking in these areas.



While the Kravis Center certainly helped with CMC’s parking deficit, new parking spaces along the north side of Wohlford have also aided with the additional cars on campus. The freshman car ban remains in place, however, and parking options should improve significantly.

Perhaps what is most exciting about CMC’s recent renovations is their focus on sustainability and minimizing our campus’ carbon footprint. Two food decomposers have been installed in the dish-room at Collins, while a third will be installed at the Athenaeum. Worley explained that the food decomposers create a federally approved soil amendment, which will be worked into CMC’s community garden among other areas. “Composting is labor-intensive,” said Worley, “and it requires a lot of area.” The soil amendment produced by these decomposers reduces food waste volume and weight by 95%, without using the space, water, and energy necessary for composting. The machines are also locally-manufactured—an added benefit, said Worley. The food decomposers “give us a leg up on some of the larger sustainability issues we’re facing,” Worley remarked. To cut down on energy use, CMC has also installed two 400-ton chillers in the basement of the Kravis Center to replace the five old or inefficient chillers throughout the west end of campus.

This focus on energy conservation should continue as CMC moves forward with its construction projects. All Worley’s work, he says, has been done with the goal of reducing our carbon footprint.

Though the changes may not be as blatant as the moat at the Kravis Center, CMC has certainly taken major steps in renovating its campus and making our CMC home an even happier place.