Students are generally satisfied with Dartmouth’s facilities. Although some buildings are dated, all are meticulously well maintained by ultra-efficient teams of janitors, custodians, and maintenance people from Dartmouth’s Office of Facilities Operations & Management. FO&M staff is the campus’ main line of defense against the horrendous pummeling it receives each winter from Mother Nature—their praises often go unsung. The enormous Baker-Berry Library, combined with satellite libraries specializing in art, music, business, engineering, and biomedical science, features ample study space and more than 2.2 million volumes on every imaginable topic. The Rauner Special Collections Library, in Webster Hall directly in the center of campus, is a real gem—one that is often overlooked by Dartmouth students as they scurry to and from their classes and extracurriculars.
Architecturally speaking, Dartmouth remains a fairly homogenous campus. Dartmouth Row, a series of white, brick-and-mortar buildings overlooking the Green, date from the very earliest days of the College’s existence and were constructed in a simple, New England, colonial style. Other buildings on campus, including the iconic Baker clock tower and most of Dartmouth’s Greek houses, date from the beginning of the 20th century and give the campus a slightly more nuanced, nostalgic, “European” feel. The vaulting, sinewy modernism of the Hopkins Center lends a fitting architectural counterpoint to the staid traditionalism of many of the earlier structures. “The Hop,” as it is affectionately known to the student body, is home to Dartmouth’s wonderfully diverse performing arts communit. It sits at the extreme south end of campus between the Green and the tiny town of Hanover.
Dartmouth is undertaking extensive new building projects all the time. Dorms are constantly being refurbished or erected from scratch, and a bunch of new academic buildings have opened during the past few years, all of which make use of environmentally friendly design principles. Dartmouth’s Office of Planning, Design and Construction continues to envision new projects to grow the campus and serve the student body, like the projected $93 million, 174,000-square-foot Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, slated to open in August 2011.