Mary Hobbs Renovation Delayed
January 25, 2013
The project, including improvements to the front parlor and stairs, student rooms and spaces, and building infrastructure, was budgeted at $2.2-$2.4 million. The College was committed not to take on debt or divert funds from the tuition-driven budget to fund this project but to rely instead mainly on gifts and grants.
We had raised or had commitments for about $1.2 million last fall from engaged Mary Hobbs alumnae, other donors, and a foundation when we understood that a bequest to the College would provide the funds needed to reach $2.2 million and start the project.
Last week, we learned that legal restrictions and challenges have tied up the bequest and the funds will not be available for the renovation for an indefinite period if ever. Before deciding to delay the project, we examined other alternatives such as splitting the project into phases spending the $1.2 million we do have on the first phase now but this would have incurred significant costs and hurried redesign between now and March.
As we work with alumnae and others to raise the additional funds, we will be reconsidering what to do and when to do it on this important renovation. We are weighing the costs and benefits of two options: (1) waiting to start the project until we obtain the full $2.2 million cost which means an indefinite postponement but is more likely than (2) deciding to take the time despite the extra redesign costs to split the project into two well-planned phases, the first of which could begin as early as March 2014 with funds in hand.
This delay means that the student residents who have moved out or will move out may now stay in Mary Hobbs this spring semester. The College will work with each resident on any moving back and the financial arrangements made with them when we thought the building would be closed will not change. The Greenleaf will not be relocated at this time.
We apologize for any inconvenience but the College cannot spend money we do not yet have. When we do, everyone will be notified as far in advance as possible of re-starting the Mary Hobbs renovation. For example, if we know this semester that the project can start in March 2014, we will publicize this fact in the housing lottery for the 2013-14 academic year so that students will know that when considering Mary Hobbs.