Construction began on Benton Hall Wednesday, February 1. Named in honor of Trustee Daniel C. Benton ’80, P’10, H’10, the building will be the future home of Colgate’s Center for Career Services and the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships.
Located due west of McGregory and Olin Halls, Benton Hall will replace Spear House, where Career Services is currently located. Benton Hall will include a reception area, a seminar room and administrative offices, as well as suites dedicated for advising, employer relations and interviews. The facility will also feature a Career Commons, which will function as a public space for faculty, staff, students and alumni to use for programs, seminars, presentations, conferences and performances.
Senior Jordan Ressa, who works as a Recruiting Assistant for Career Services, expressed enthusiasm for the new facility.
“Everyone in Career Services is very excited for the new building,” Ressa said. “[In Spear House] there are not enough offices, meeting rooms or interview rooms. A bigger building will mean more space for visiting employers and students.”
Senior Taylor Mooney also recognized the benefits the new building will offer.
“Career Services is unique in that it allows us a physical space on campus to reach out beyond Colgate,” Mooney said. “Not only that, but the other financial resources it provides personally allowed me to take advantage of a summer internship opportunity that I couldn’t have had otherwise. So, I hope the new location will encourage more students to use those really useful and helpful resources.”
In addition to Benton Hall, Colgate plans to begin construction on two new residence halls. Construction is expected to begin April 2017 and conclude in time for the Fall 2019 semester. The new buildings are part of a multi-year, $60 million investment in Colgate’s residential facilities.
Located behind Andrews Hall, the new residence halls will form a “second residential quad,” which will function as an additional gathering space for students. Each building will house 100 residents in three upper floors of doubles and four-resident suites. The ground floor and first floor of each building will include dedicated seminar rooms, classrooms, offices and social lounges.
According to President Brian W. Casey, the residence halls will have a significant impact on how students live and learn.
“These magnificent new additions will contribute greatly to the ways in which this campus works to inspire and connect our students, to build and support the community and to develop their future paths,” Casey said.
The residence halls are part of Colgate’s larger initiative to increase residential living-learning communities on campus, such as the Sophomore Residential Seminars (SRS) and the Residential Commons. The initiative is based on research showing that living-learning communities are proven to help students make a smooth academic and social transition to college.
Junior Hyeon Jeong, who was formerly involved in the SRS program, found that living-learning communities fostered collaboration, intellectual exploration and student-faculty engagement.
“The reason that I loved the SRS program was that the house became a real community,” Jeong said. “I was part of a group of students who studied together, lived together and hosted events together. That interaction made a significant impact on my work in the classroom.”
First-year Karen Aguilar, an Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS) scholar, noted both the advantages and disadvantages of living-learning communities.
“All OUS scholars are assigned to live in the same dorm,” Aguilar said. “I like that I have my closest friends near me, especially when the weather gets pretty rough, but I do think that isolates us, or any program from everyone else. However, if we all had a whole class together, I do think that would make for a stronger community bond.”
Construction of the residential halls will also redistribute occupancy of existing dorms. Board of Trustees Chair Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17, P’20 explained the ways in which these dorms will significantly
improve residential life up the hill.
“These new residence halls will allow Colgate to lower the number of students currently living in Gate House, Cutten and Townhouse facilities, bringing the populations in these residence complexes to levels better suited to their design and capacity,” Hurwitz said.
The residential halls will be constructed using stone from local quarries. Both Benton Hall and the residential halls are designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects and will meet LEED Silver sustainability standards.