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PRIORITY III—SENSE OF PLACE

The campaign honored Wellesley’s natural and built environments, long recognized as masterpieces of twentieth-century place-making.

Together, we raised more than $91 million, which funded our efforts to refresh vital spaces in which we work and live—the physical embodiment of the Wellesley experience.

Thanks to generous campaign gifts from Wellesley alumnae, parents, and friends there are new and renovated spaces across campus, including the Butler Boathouse, the living and dining rooms of the East Side residence halls, the beautifully transformed Arts Center in Pendleton West, and the Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse. View this slideshow to learn more about each project.

Pendleton West

Photo credit: Michael Moran/OTTO 

Pendleton West is transforming the visual and musical arts at Wellesley—ushering in a new era of collaborative creativity.

The innovative design of Pendleton West promotes active dialogue and cross-disciplinary collaboration, supporting individual artistic practice as well as collaborative studio production. The renovation included a complete overhaul of existing studios and an addition that links the visual and musical arts, connecting flexible studio, classroom, and rehearsal spaces that support both emerging and traditional artistic methods.

Fast Facts

Named for: Ellen Fitz Pendleton, class of 1886, Wellesley’s first alumna president

Year built: 1934

Renovation completed: 2017

Background
  • Built in 1934 to house Wellesley’s chemistry department, the west wing of Pendleton Hall was repurposed for arts instruction almost 50 years ago. As a nod to that history, the engraved word “Chemistry” above one of the original entryways to the building was left intact.
  • Architect Stephen Kieran of the award-winning firm KieranTimberlake says, “The idea [for the design] was to completely integrate a performative acoustical system into the architecture of the building so that you couldn’t tell what was architecture and what was performance.”
  • The renovated building and the addition’s green roofs are visible from adjacent buildings and offer a stunning view of the arboretum in every season.
About the Architects

Founded in 1984, the Philadelphia architecture firm KieranTimberlake brings together the experience and talents of over 120 professionals of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Projects include the programming, planning, and design of new structures as well as the conservation, renovation, and transformation of existing buildings, with special expertise in education, government, arts and culture, civic, and residential projects. 

Freeman living room

One goal of the campus renewal project is to revitalize, restore, and modernize the living spaces that are so integral to Wellesley students’ sense of community—beginning in Freeman, Bates, and McAfee residence halls.

The Living Room Project has rejuvenated the living rooms in these halls, modernized the dining areas in Bates and McAfee, and established a single, accessible indoor and outdoor area that links the halls together physically, creating beautiful meeting, study, and entertainment spaces, while providing access to Wellesley’s lovely landscape.

Fast Facts

Named for: Freeman was named in honor of Alice Freeman Palmer, Wellesley’s second (and youngest) president. Bates was named in honor of Katharine Lee Bates, class of 1800, a longtime professor of English literature famous for her composition “America the Beautiful,” sung each year at Wellesley’s commencement. McAfee was named in honor of Mildred McAfee Horton, Wellesley’s seventh president, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and head of WAVES , the women’s branch of the Navy during WWII.

Year built: Freeman: 1953, Bates: 1953, McAfee: 1961

Renovation completed: 2016, and ongoing

Background
  • Bates has a separate gluten-sensitive room for students with celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity.
  • The McAfee Living Room boasts a French Gothic stone fireplace and Gothic ceiling from Wels, Austria.
  • Boston-based firm C&J Katz Studio designed the halls’ living room interiors. Hale Living Room in Freeman Hall features large, comfortable furniture that is easy to move and allows students to reconfigure the space as needed. 
About the Architects

Founded in 1955, Goody Clancy is a Boston-based architecture, planning, and preservation firm serving educational, governmental, and private sector clients and communities nationwide. They collaborate with clients to create designs and plans that elevate their aspirations, inspire creativity and collaboration, and build social, economic, and environmental value.

Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse

Photo credit: Warren Jagger

Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse supports Wellesley’s ongoing efforts to promote the health and wellness of our students.

The renovated Dorothy Towne Fieldhouse features a hardwood court for basketball and volleyball, arena seating for 500, three indoor tennis courts, a spinning room, a climbing wall, a four-lane 200-meter track, a high-jump area, and a new long- and triple-jump pit. The crown jewel of the renovation is a brand-new 4,600-square-foot fitness center that brings together strength training and cardio equipment in one central space.

These structural improvements enhance Wellesley’s diverse programmatic offerings, optimize teaching effectiveness, improve efficiency, and provide access to the Fieldhouse for the entire campus community—from the individual fitness enthusiast to those students enrolled in physical education classes, and from club sports to varsity athletic teams.

Fast Facts

Named for: Dorothy Towne ’23

Year built: Mid-1980s

Renovation completed: 2015

Background
  • The center features more than 55 new pieces of cardio and strength equipment and a variety of other fitness-related equipment.
  • The renovation was completed using the building’s original steel structure and existing footprint.
  • Dorothy Towne considered the fieldhouse an opportunity for a “his and hers” gift after a new fieldhouse at Williams College was named for her husband.
About the Architects

Sasaki, based in Watertown, Mass., brings a collaborative approach to design and architecture. The firm was selected for its significant experience in athletic facility renovation and design and its understanding of the importance of maximizing the value of the space, in addition to simply fixing the leaks.

Butler Boathouse

Photo credit: Peterson Architects

Updates to Butler Boathouse increased campus-wide recreational opportunities and supported other PERA initiatives.

The renovated Butler Boathouse is appealing and accessible, with a new main entry, a “quarterdeck” class/meeting room, improved shop space, two restrooms, a canoe/kayak room, and storage. The project also addressed the site’s soil erosion and drainage issues. At the new boathouse, members of the Wellesley community can borrow canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and sailboats, and Wellesley students who have never sailed can get their feet wet—figuratively, one hopes—by taking a basic sailing course.

Fast Facts

Named for: Alice Lehmann Butler ’53 and her husband, John

Year built: 1963

Renovation completed: 2015

Background
  • Wellesley’s rowing program was, in 1875, the country’s first for women
  • Crew has been popular at Wellesley ever since—although sporty full-length dresses have been replaced with today’s high-performance bodysuits.
  • Alice Butler was an avid member of her dorm crew, and she and her husband are lifelong fitness enthusiasts.
About the Architects

Founded in 2001, Peterson Architects is an award-winning firm based in Cambridge, Mass., that services a range of institutional clients and has developed considerable expertise as boathouse architects. Says the firm’s website, “It is our goal to create beautiful buildings and spaces while tending to issues of program, budget, site, and the environment.”

The Campaign Priorities