The Circle Voice

New Joy Lane Gate

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Summer after summer, there is construction happening on campus. This summer, a project that cannot be ignored is the construction of a fourth campus entrance gate.

The gate is located on Joy Lane, home to many faculty houses. When the main gate and Campbell Performing Arts Center (CPAC) gate are closed, Joy Lane serves as a back entrance to Hundred House by car. Since this entrance is always accessible, the creation of the new gate is largely for security. Cathy Lincoln stated, “The intention of the gate was so that all roads leading to Groton could be closed off in case there was an issue off-campus.”

The gates were proposed by Mr. Maqubela about a year and a half ago with the intention of increasing campus security. He said that he was prompted to suggest this addition after a student went missing in the woods two years ago: “the Chief of Police told [me] that the press and news and state were all going to come here… We knew we could close all of the front gates to prevent the press from coming, but we had no way to close off Joy Lane. I knew then that something had to change.”

If there was an emergency in one of the surrounding towns, the ability to close all of the entrances to campus would make it so that no vehicle could enter campus from the main road. Mr. Maqubela assured, “the gates will remain open all of the time unless we need to close them in an emergency situation.”

Arthur Diaz, the Chief Financial Officer in the Business Office, disclosed that the gate will cost $70,000 to construct. The cost of the gate is about 0.2% of the school’s total budget and 1/35th of the school’s annual capital budget reserved for maintenance repairs and construction projects. The amount of money the school spends on maintenance and repairs is well within the range that it should be in comparison to the value of all of the facilities of the school, Mr. Diaz explained: “The rule of thumb is that you should spend between 2% and 4% of that total value each year on maintenance. Groton’s facilities (buildings, vehicles, equipment, and so on) are worth approximately $250 million, so the rule of thumb would say we should spend $5-10 million each year on maintenance and replacements.” He divulged that Groton has budgeted about $4.5 million annually on maintenance the last few years, but that additional spending from donations (such as for the Schoolhouse renovation) brings us within the 2%-4% range. Recently, maintenance spending has gone towards projects like, “the new windows in two Brooks House dorms and on the east side of the Schoolhouse, a new staircase going up to the top of the Chapel, roof replacements on Brooks House, the newly paved road behind CPAC, the new sidewalk and crosswalks on Farmers Row, bathroom renovations in three dorms, and the gate.”

Not everyone is convinced that the new gates are the safety feature that campus needs. Maddie Culcasi ’20 argued that, “Since the intention was to improve the school’s security then I think that the money might have been better spent on ways to make the Schoolhouse building more secure, not gates…”  On the other hand, Afran Ali ’20 is excited by the new gate, stating, “I think that the new gates will make campus look more united.”

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