The Academy 2.0
by Katie Berry on Friday, December 5th, 2014
As lucky as we are to have such a beautiful campus, chances are there’s something you want to see changed. Maybe you wish that every department had its own free snack bar or that Ware were equipped with escalators so you would never have to arrive panting and embarrassed to math class ever again.
While the chance of any of these dreams coming true is fairly slim, it is not as slim as one might think. The administration has taken the first steps in realizing a large renovation project, the goal of which is, according to Jim Selman, Associate Director of Construction and Standards at Milton, “to create an institutional environment that matches the excellence of its students’ faculty.” A large portion of its success lies in the hands of the Milton community.
A few years ago, the Master Planning Committee chose Sasaki Associates out of a selection of competitors to lead the project. Sasaki Associates is a local planning and design firm based in Watertown, MA and describes itself on its website as “diverse, curious, strategic, and inspired,” thinking “beyond boundaries to make new discoveries.” Sasaki conducted surveys and interviews last spring in order to determine what it is exactly that students, faculty, administration, Campus Safety, and everyone else who plays a role on Milton’s campus want to see changed, and it “is now putting all of the feedback they got into a cohesive document that will be presented, at the earliest, at the next Trustees meeting in January,” according to Mr. Selman. The data will then be reviewed by the Master Planning Committee, and either approved or sent back for revisions.
When students were asked about what they wanted to see changed here at Milton, answers ranged – as you might expect – from the practical to the imaginative. Claire Huffman (I) wants renovated gyms in the RSG and CSG and notes that “a lot of people want a turf field.” Juliana Rogoff (II) “would like a building constructed for day students… to sleep in;” Shaheen Bharwani (I) merely states, “Ware… doesn’t match up to the swag of our other buildings, particularly the science building;” Grace Connor (III) wishes “they would make the library nicer.” Sam Peponakis (I) and Santa Vivar (I) approach the same issue with different strategies: Sam says, “the Health Center shouldn’t be all the way in Narnia,” and Santa suggests that a monorail to Goodwin and Hathaway be built.
Although current juniors and seniors could weigh in on the direction in which they would like the developments to head, it’s unlikely that any current upperclassmen will reap the benefits. “Progress all depends somewhat on the fund-raising and on the approval of the Trustees, whom we meet with three times a year,” explained Selman, adding that “it’s a very long-term project. I don’t believe there’ll be any tangible evidence of this for at least two years, more likely three to five. Right now we’re just trying to be aware of the direction and not do anything that would have to be undone.”
The project is a careful, drawn-out process that tries to take into account both the data from a campus-wide “strategic planning” exercise completed about 18 months ago– a prerequisite of maintaining Milton Academy’s academic certification– and the input of the community. Some of the voices to which they’re listening are from Sasaki itself, whose architects suggest a renovation of the vehicular and pedestrian access on the south side of campus. According to Selman, even that idea “would require a lot of work in terms of reconfiguring the ball fields, getting into the wet lands, maybe adjusting the parking. It’s a very long term project.”
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=6624