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Deferred Maintenance on President's House Now Underway

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Dartmouth is currently working to address large-scale deferred maintenance needs at the 83-year-old President's House, recently vacated by President Emeritus James Wright and Susan DeBevoise Wright. The residence is undergoing extensive work to replace the original 1926 plumbing and heating systems, make the building wheelchair accessible, and remedy issues such as drainage problems in the basement.

president's house

The maintenance project on the President's House includes replacing the original 1926 heating and plumbing and making the building wheelchair accessible. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

In 1998, President Wright requested that the maintenance be deferred, due to the scope of the project, until he and Susan were no longer in residence. In a May 2009 interview with The Dartmouth, Wright called the President's House "one of the jewels of the campus." As to the need for the work, he said, "Institutions like Dartmouth should not let a place like that deteriorate." (Click here to read the full article.)

Architect Byron Haynes, part of the team leading the work, says that the plans will "reinforce sagging framing" and reduce heating costs. "The existing heating system is almost impossible to control and wastes energy," he says. The construction cost of the project is $2.2 million, lower than the original $2.8 million estimate due to a competitive bidding environment in the construction industry and savings identified during the design phase by Dartmouth's Office of Planning, Design, and Construction.

President Jim Yong Kim and his family are residing in a College-owned house on Rope Ferry Road until January, when the work is scheduled to be complete. The project will also include adjustments, such as installing handrails and runners on stairs, to ensure the President's House is a safe home for the youngest members of the Kim family. Thomas, age 8, and Nicolas, 6 months, will be the first young children to live in the house since the presidency of John Sloan Dickey.

By SARAH MEMMI

Last Updated: 1/12/10