Athenaeum Renovated for First Time Since Its Opening

In addition to the opening of Claremont McKenna College's new Kravis Center, this summer saw a complete renovation of the Athenaeum by IA Interior Architects thanks to a $4.5 million allotment by the Board of Trustees. The building had not been renovated since its opening in 1983 and had only experienced one carpet change until its complete infrastructural and design makeover this summer.  Needless to say, the time had come for a facelift, and a significant one at that.

The plan, first discussed in a 2009 trustee meeting, was put into motion on commencement day of last year, and the building was ready to use just before the Parents Dinner on August 25th, 2011. Athenaeum manager David Edwards hopes the renovations will “bring a sleek, new look” and update the structure with which the building was originally created.

The renovation focused on design, technology, and energy use, explained Frank Perri, CMC’s Director of Construction. The design component is immediately visible in the building’s new furnishings, which include three new flat screen TV’s, custom designed chairs in the dining hall, new carpets, limestone floors, and an increase in the number of chandeliers in the dining room from 4 to 24.

The Athenaeum now features completely refurbished bathrooms with automated systems; a gas fireplace in the library; a completely new kitchen line including a new freezer, dishwasher, and refrigerator; increased wireless capacity; and improved acoustics thanks to a new AV system and the installation of transparent acoustic enhancing cloth in the lobby and dining rooms. Hinges were added to the large window in the dining hall, allowing them pivot and open the room to the quad outdoors.

Energy conservation was a large part of the decisions made in the Athenaeum renovation.  The new kitchen appliances save energy to be sure, but three flat screen TVs and a gas fireplace can't help much on the energy expenditure front.  Each of the 24 new chandeliers in the main dining room have Energy Star and energy efficient certifications, making them an environmentally-friendly addition to the renovation. The building is now air conditioned by the Kravis Center, which pumps chilled water that also feeds the air conditioning systems for Roberts North and South, Adams Hall, and the Emmett Student Center. The roof’s rotted wood was replaced and harvested where possible to make way for a foam roof that acts as both a waterproof cover and an insulator. A composter was added to the kitchen, and the bathrooms have been remodeled with water efficient and low flow sinks.

The new Ath is refurbished, modernized, and ready for another year of speakers and students. With input from the board of trustees, the student Athenaeum committee, and Athenaeum employees, the final project is, as Perri puts it, one of which “everyone involved is proud." A world class facility for world class speakers.

Want more of the Athenaeum? Check out the full Fall Speaker List for the Fall of 2011. For more information about the Athenaeum or to place reservations, please visit their website.