Math department still without home

College officials aren’t sure where to put the math department, which is partially housed in a building slated to be demolished in about five years.

Bradley and Gerry Halls will be torn down soon after the completion of the new Berry Library when the psychology department is moved into the new Moore Psychology Building and a new home is found for the math department. But the College has not developed a plan for relocating the offices of the math faculty and administrative staff.

The math department is currently divided between Bradley Hall, the Sudikoff Computer Sciences Laboratory and Choate House on Rope Ferry Road.

“Bradley and Gerry will stay until a new home for the math department is found,” Director of Facilities Planning Gordon DeWitt said. “The construction of Berry can take place with Bradley and Gerry in place, although the Berry building would end up being very close to Bradley Center.”

College officials are considering erecting a new math building west of Sudikoff or on the proposed quadrangle of grass north of the Berry Library. But the College is far from approving the project, according to Mathematics Chair James Baumgartner.

“We have been discussing this issue with no luck with College officials for many years,” he said. “My time estimate for the building of a new math department would be 10 years.”

Math professors hoped to have a plan this year, in honor of the 25th anniversary of coeducation, which occurred under the leadership of College President John Kemeny, who was a math professor, Baumgartner said. Some have discussed naming the building “Kemeny Hall.”

Now that College President James Freedman has announced he will step down after Commencement, some math professors are worried their efforts to generate support for a math building will be wasted. The professors would like to see all their offices consolidated in one building.

The College has rejected several plans to put the math department in a pre-existing location.

“We have seen vague plans throughout the past year to move the Department to Fairchild Center. That implies moving the library to the basement, but that would never work out,” said Baumgartner, who said he has heard other proposals including putting the math department in the new Berry Library.

“The two proposed plans have been ruled out upon further research, so the only possibility left is to place the math department in a new building,” he said.

Baumgartner speculated that a large donation might convince the College to instigate concrete action.

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