Starting the Weston Field Project

To the Williams Community,

I write with the great news that the Weston Field renovation project is now going ahead.

Those of you who were at Williams in 2008 recall that one of the first steps the college took in response to the global financial crisis was to suspend two capital projects that were about to begin. One was to build the new Sawyer Library, including the renovation of Stetson Hall; the other was the renovation of Weston.

The Sawyer work began when we were able to meet our new ground rule of starting a large capital project only after we’ve underwritten most of the cost through philanthropy.  Weston project artist's rendering

With Weston, we used the intervening time to re-imagine the once-in-a-lifetime possibilities the project afforded. What had been an effort to address deficiencies and squeeze a new building between two playing fields became a holistic look at how the complex could best support our approach to athletics, with its emphasis on broad participation and excellence within Division 3. The committee arrived at an approach that not only succeeds in that way, but also puts greater emphasis on green design and on the environmental stewardship of the surrounding area.

The project will provide much-needed facilities for varsity field hockey, football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track as well as for recreational use. Those facilities will be safer and more inviting for both athletes and fans. The project will also free up space on Cole Field for junior varsity, club, intramural, and recreational use. And we’ll finally be able at Weston to decommission the bathrooms first used in the Middle Ages.

The new project has attracted enough philanthropy toward its $22 million cost that the Board of Trustees this weekend voted to proceed.

Every effort will be made to complete the detailed design work in time to begin construction after the 2013 fall season and finish it in time for the following fall. The design work will be overseen by a Weston Athletic Complex Project Committee, co-chaired by Will Dudley, provost and professor of philosophy, and Lisa Melendy, athletic director.

Our thanks go to the many people who have had a hand in this project over the years and, of course, to the alumni and parents whose financial support enables us to begin this exciting work.

Adam Falk