Colby-Sawyer’s Sustainable Removal of Colby Farm Makes Way for Arts Building

Colby-Sawyer College will begin site work this month for a new arts building by removing Colby Farm, which was built as a private single-family residence in 1987 and acquired by the college in 2000.

The new 15,000 square foot facility will offer studios, a state-of-the-art black box theater and a fine art galleria with views of Mt. Kearsarge, as well as offices for faculty and outdoor art areas. Sustained fundraising efforts will enable the college to complete the project without incurring new debt. An endowment created through an alumna’s gift will support the building’s operation.

When Colby Farm was offered to local developers contingent upon removal with no takers, the New London Board of Selectmen approved its razing. The salvage and partial deconstruction of the 7,000 square foot house and garage will be overseen by Deconstruction Works. Michael Weitzner, co-owner of the Vermont-based company, estimates that more than half the value of the materials in Colby Farm will be reclaimed during the three-week project.

Deconstruction Works, based in Vermont, is devoted to recovering usable building materials destined for the landfill, a goal congruent with the college’s dedication to sustainability. The environmental benefits of deconstruction include reduction of landfill waste, decreased energy costs and conservation of natural resources.

Colby-Sawyer will retain for use elsewhere on campus the majority of the hardwood floors found throughout the house and the interior lighting fixtures, the granite steps and edging, bathroom fixtures, the weathervane on the garage, and some kitchen cabinetry.