Woodlands Center Poised to Transform Life Sciences at Proctor

Contractors continue to make progress through winter

By Scott Allenby
Construction of the internal timber framing of the Proctor Academy Woodlands Center was completed by Steeplechase Timberframing. Caption and photo: Scott Allenby

The Proctor Woodlands Center is a project that has been three years in the making. Through the support of generous donors who understand Proctor’s deep connection to the natural world and surrounding woodlands, this building will transform the life sciences at Proctor. With an estimated completion of July 2022, the Proctor Woodlands Center will be open for science classes starting next fall.

Jack and Jake Bronnenberg have harvested and managed Proctor Academy woodlands in partnership with the school for over a decade. This past fall, they harvested timbers to serve as  the timber frame for the new Proctor Woodlands Center. Caption and photo: Scott Allenby

When designing this new science building, architects and members of the internal design committee sought to incorporate the very woodlands to which the building would serve as a gateway. Jack and Jake Bronnenberg, longtime partners in managing and harvesting Proctor’s woodlands, identified a stand of trees near Elbow Pond that could be milled and used for the timber frame construction. Jack and Jake harvested these trees in the late summer and sent them to Tamworth, New Hampshire where they were milled and prepared for framing. In December, the timbers arrived back on campus ready for construction.

Throughout January’s frigid and February’s volatile weather, contractors have continued to make progress on the exterior of the building, allowing us to see roughly what the finished space will look like. A few weeks ago, while drilling a channel for plumbing lines and conduits for wiring, excavators hit the dreaded ledge that runs under much of campus. Residents of MLS, Guilick, and Sally B dorms were just as relieved as the contractors when the ledge was finally removed. Thankfully, crews have made up ground in other areas, allowing the construction process to remain on schedule.

The week of March 14 saw a concrete floor poured throughout the building, followed by shingles going on the roof the week of March 21. Solar panels will cover all roof areas on the south, east, and west sides of the building with installations beginning in April.

In addition to the classrooms, lab space, and open nave in the center of the building, a greenhouse will be placed on the eastern side of the building.