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Another Uber-Pricey Building
Just when I could not believe that the College could spend more money on a building than on the new Moosilauke Lodge, in came news reports of the soon-to-be-built 65,000ft² indoor athletic practice facility — a $25 million project:
The total cost of the structure is composed of soft and hard construction costs in the amount of $20.5M and an endowment of $4.5M to fund upkeep and maintenance. Athletics Director Harry Sheehy described the facility as follows: “It’s a functional building, a big box of air. We need space and (playing) surface, and this will give us that.” The space will be built in the “sunken field” practice space next to Boss Tennis Center:
Now don’t get me wrong: an indoor practice field will be a great addition to athletics on campus. Fifty-year-old Leverone is maxed out and has long needed an upgrade, just like Floren was the logical addition on campus to the aging Varsity Fieldhouse. But once again, I have experience in constructing a comparable building, and for the College to spend $20.5 million on “a big box of air” is incomprehensible. In 2005-2006 I built a 28,000 ft² tennis center in Lebanon:
Our structure is a bare-bones facility, and it does not have a fancy entrance or locker rooms, but it is super-insulated and it has a state-of-the-art air-handling unit — and it only cost about $1.2 million. Let’s adjust for inflation, and take into account that the College’s new structure will have a playing surface of about 56,000 ft²; how can the playing portion of the building possibly cost more than $4.0 million?
The facility’s remaining 9,000 ft² is composed of a glassy entrance area, and I assume locker rooms, training space, offices and a viewing area. That part of the building will cost over $16.0 million? No way.
Let’s also look at the Alexis Boss Tennis Center, which opened in September 2000. Its six tennis courts occupy approximately 44,000 ft², about 20% less than the practice area in the new facility. And, in addition, it has locker rooms for tennis and field sports, trainers rooms, a lacrosse area, stands for viewing, a large entrance lobby and offices:
We can assume that it is close to the same size as the entire proposed indoor practice facility. The total budget for Boss — a steel-framed Butler building just like the new practice facilty — was only $7.5 million: the College floated a $5.0 construction loan for the building, and I assume that most of the remaining funds for the building went to an operating endowment.
As we noted with regard to Moosilauke, inflation between 2000 and today was 37.83%, yet once again, in comparing the new indoor practice facility to Boss, we can see that even after adjusting for inflation the new project will cost about three times what a similar building cost the College to build fifteen years ago.
This, too, makes no sense to me.
Addendum: I am grateful to the College’s Chief Facilities Officer Lisa Hogarty for taking the time to verify for me the construction details of the new building.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
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