On Tuesday, April 14, Colgate announced the Board of Trustees’ final approval for the construction of a new home for the Center of Career Services. The facility will be fully funded by a lead gift from trustee Dan Benton ’80 and additional alumni and parent support. Construction will start this fall and is expected to finish by late 2016.
The 16,000-square-foot building is currently being designed by the architectural firm Ayers Saint Gross, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The center will feature high quality video technology to connect students with alumni and employers around the world.
Over the past academic year, over 90 percent of the student body has utilized Career Services. Under the leadership of Director of Career Services Mike Sciola, there has been greater variety in workshops and programs offered, as well as an effort to bring speakers to campus. Career Services has also organized immersion trips for student groups to visit various cities. The center has logged nearly 16,000 appointments, interviews and attendees at workshops and events so far this year. According to Vice President of Institutional Advancement Murray Decock ’80, this increase in usage is due to realignment of the center’s programs and outreach to specifically target first-year and sophomore students.
“With all of this new activity, it quickly became apparent that the current facility, Spear House, is just not adequate nor appropriate space,” Decock said. “There is no space able to accommodate groups of more than ten to 12 students at a time, which makes employer visits difficult.”
Junior Rachelle Ehrman, who works as a peer advisor at the center, echoed these concerns in regards to the lack of space in Spear House.
“Career Services definitely needs a new building. The upstairs staff is mostly in one room with desks separated by partitions,” Ehrman said. “Having a bigger space will help the office run so much more smoothly since we won’t all be living on top of each other.”
The new space will also include a Career Commons – a public space for faculty, staff, students and alumni to use for programs, seminars, presentations, conferences and performances.
“It will give students the chance to spend more time in and around the office by giving them study space. You would be amazed what I have learned about events and opportunities just by hanging around the office,” Ehrman said.
Junior Anastassia Bougakova also recognized the benefits of building the new center.
“I’ve used Career Services and didn’t find it lacking in space personally, but with so many people using it, it makes sense to expand it. I can see how additional technologic[al] resources like video and computer equipment could be beneficial,” Bougakova said.
Decock also cited the condition of Spear House, including a lack of wheelchair access and accessible bathrooms, as a serious problem.
“In addition, there have been significant challenges with the house’s infrastructure – extremely high levels of radon, infestations of bees, snakes and mice and not one but two epic sewer back ups/explosions this year. Overall, it is clear we needed to find new space for Career Services,” Decock said.
The new building will be constructed where the Center for Learning, Teaching and Research (CLTR) and the Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS) are currently located. There will be a series of moves taking place this summer in order to accommodate the Center for Career Services. CLTR will move into newly renovated space in McGregory Hall, while OUS will move to the La Casa Pan-Latina Americana House for the duration of the project. The residents and members of La Casa will move to the Class of 1934 House at 49 Broad Street, where they hope to experience more visibility for events such as their annual Haunted House. Meanwhile, planning is underway to determine the needs for and create a new, permanent home for the OUS program.
The future of Spear House is currently uncertain, but potential uses being discussed include the possibility of housing an academic department.
“We do know that, whatever goes into Spear House, we’ll need to do a significant renovation,” Decock said.