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Moosilauke Spending Incompetence

If you directed a high-performance organization with a history of achieving ambitious goals, it would make sense to try to construct the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge over the course of a winter. In that way each incoming Dartmouth class could enjoy an unbroken tradition. But for the College — with its sad history of late, over-budget building projects — attempting to demolish the old lodge and build a new one between September 2016 and August 2017 was most definitely a lodge too far.

Not only did the administration accept the huge extra cost of rushing a construction project at a site that is normally inaccessible in the winter months — as we have documented, the new lodge was scheduled to cost four times per ft² in inflation-adjusted dollars what the McLane Family Lodge at the Skiway cost in 2000-2001 — but it turns out that all the extra spending for accelerated construction was for nought: due to numerous complications, Moosilauke will not be ready in time for the incoming freshmen this fall:

Moosilauke New Lodge1.jpg

Oh, great. A bad management decision about aggressive goals led to millions of dollars in extra cost, but the end result is no different than if the administration had conservatively decided to have freshmen skip a year at Moosilauke in order to save money and have the project proceed in an orderly fashion. The worst of both worlds, if you ask me.

Addendum: Such unending incompetence is enough to make even the most green-bleeding blogger want to give up. The money wasted here — say $5 million — could have funded an endowment that would have paid the compensation of two young Humanities professors forever.

Addendum: The Moosilauke débâcle recalls the overspending on the Hanover Inn, the result, in part at least, of Jim Kim’s desire to have the Inn open in time for Commencement. What a waste of tens of millions of dollars.


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