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Greater Clarity About HCC

The work of Professor Charlie Wheelan ‘88’s Golf Course Advisory Committee puts into relief what is great about Dartmouth and what ails her. The committee’s report on various options for the course’s future contained pregnant thoughts:

Several alumni have made specific offers regarding contributions (totaling over $10M) to continue golf course operations and/or build a new clubhouse. It is our sense that these contributions are not fungible and therefore would not materialize if the course were closed.

A fair interpretation of the above will contain two ideas: generous alumni would be happy to contribute large sums of money to creating a golf course of which the community and they could be proud; and the money they would donate would never go to the College otherwise. The world “rathole” is sometimes evoked in these discussions.

Planning for a new course layout and clubhouse is moving forward, and one imaginative design provides for three six-hole links (Loops A, B and C). In addition, several existing holes would be abandoned in the thought that the College would want the space near the Dewey parking lot for some type of expansion (see red arrow):

Golf Six-Hole Plan.jpg

However, it is tough to know exactly what the College is looking for because the administration — despite Carol Folt’s strategic plan and after Phil’s five years in Hanover — has no active Master Plan concerning Dartmouth’s direction. There was a Master Plan prepared in 2002, but everyone seems to agree that it is no more than an artifact today. That Plan did have the germ of an idea of what types of buildings were to go on the slope and plateau above Dewey — student residences (and you think the River Cluster is far from campus) and academic facilities:

Master Plan 2002 Dewey Area.jpg

As for the hundreds of cars currently in the Dewey lot, nothing is said.

In any event, the course is far from dead, and Charlie Wheelan said at yesterday evening’s meeting that more discussions would be taking place with EVP for Finance Rick Mills in the near future. Fingers crossed.

Addendum: The College has a chance to distinguish itself in this situation. We could end up with a lovely golf course that would attract talented varsity athletes, and also a first class clubhouse that would be a must-see stop on most alumni visits to Hanover.

Addendum: There has been talk of a large building in the Dewey area for the College’s new Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Given the parlous state of the campus at the present time, a large project of this type seems ill-advised.

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