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Terrace moves forward with plans for renovation, goes to Planning Board Thursday

Terrace Club is developing plans, still in their early stages, to renovate its clubhouse. The club is still raising funds for the construction, which is not likely to begin for several years.

Representatives of the club, including Sandy Harrison ’74, chairman of the club’s board of governors, presented the club’s preliminary plans to the town’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board last month. These representatives will meet with the town Planning Board on Thursday to gain official approval for their plans.

Approvals at this stage focus on the changes planned for the building’s exterior, as well as its elimination of several parking spaces. A main component of the renovation is to create an additional dining room at the back of the club, which would mean eliminating some of the parking spaces in that area, according to Harrison.

“If it wasn’t for the parking situation, we wouldn’t even need to meet with the Planning Board,” Harrison said.

The elimination of some parking spaces means that Terrace will no longer rent out spaces to students, but it will retain enough spaces to accommodate its members and staff. Terrace president Chris St. John ’15 said he is not concerned by the change in parking arrangements.

“I think we’re just blessed to have the spaces that we do, but I think that our culture and membership would greater benefit from having this nicer, newer space than having a couple extra parking spaces,” St. John said.

Vice chairman of the SPRA Board Harry Cooke said the representatives from Terrace satisfied his concerns about parking at the Dec. 11 meeting.

“We found that, in fact, they didn’t really need all the spaces they had and they were allowing other people to use that area,” Cooke said. “They would still have an adequate number to satisfy their direct need.”

Cooke did, however, suggest that the remaining parking area be redesigned to accommodate the need the club would have by the time the renovations would be completed.

The plans are still preliminary and subject to change at any time because the capacity of Terrace alumni to contribute the funds needed is still being assessed, Harrison explained.

“If we fall short on our fundraising, we may have to scale back some of what we want to do and prioritize,” Harrison said. “We just don’t know that yet because it takes time.”

The cost of the project will be several million dollars, Harrison estimated, saying he is reluctant to state the exact number the club is considering spending because it could change.

The additional dining room, however, is one of the club’s highest priorities, Harrison said. St. John said he can see a need for this additional dining space.

“While I can’t speak directly to the Grad Board’s purposes, I assume [the plan for an additional dining room] is because we are the biggest club numbers-wise and we need more dining space to accommodate us,” St. John said.

In addition to expanding available dining space, the club is considering many other renovations and improvements to the building. Harrison said the “most interesting” improvement would be the new area designed for musical performances in the basement space created by the additional dining room. The club currently hosts musical acts in its dining room, which requires clearing chairs and tables from the area before each performance, then putting them back afterward.

“We hold more music events and host more bands than any other club. It’s a very important part of Terrace culture, so it’d be great to have a dedicated space for that,” Harrison said.

Another possible renovation is the installation of an elevator, Harrison said. The club is interested in removing the fire escape and replacing it with an enclosed elevator and an indoor wraparound staircase for reasons of safety and ADA compliance, Harris said.

“Some of the other clubs that have gone through renovations have incorporated elevators into their plans for very similar reasons,” Harris explained. “It’s not that we’re necessarily jumping on the bandwagon, but we look at what they do and say, ‘Is this right for us, too?’ and try to borrow some ideas.”

The club is also considering several “greening ideas,” such as solar panels and insulated thermal windows, though these are low on the list of priorities and will not represent a major cost.

“There are some greening aspects to this whole grand plan that would save our energy costs over time,” Harris said. “It’s not just to save money; we would like to be environmentally conscious too.”

The SPRA Board’s main function is to advise applicants of changes they should make to their plans and then to make a recommendation to the Planning Board on their decision. While the town’s only stake in the project is the change in parking spaces, the Board made some additional suggestions.

Cooke suggested that a railing be added to the roof area above the new dining room to keep people from attempting to walk onto the roof. Though SPRA Board has no legal authority to compel this change, Harris said the club was seriously considering this suggestion for safety reasons.

At the earliest, construction could begin in the summer of 2015 and be finished by 2018, though the club is nowhere near ready to start preparing for construction, Harris explained.

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