Lower Campus (Chapman Campus)
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Except for tennis courts, the Power Plant (1925), and Peacock Pond (1929), the lower area of campus was not developed until the Student Alumnae Building was extended into the space in 1940. Excavated from a marsh in 1929, Peacock Pond in its first years could be used for swimming, boating, and skating. Seniors first successfully floated their candles here in 1930. The Greek Metcalf Temple on the pond's western shore was constructed in 1935 using pillars from the porch of the original section of Old Metcalf Hall (original boarding house). A wooden bridge built in the 1930s was replaced with a cement bridge in 1957.
The Wheaton Trustees decided in October 1955 that the College should respond to the growing post-WWII demand for higher education by expanding enrollment from 535 to 850. They recommended using the land east of Peacock Pond for the needed construction, following the recommendation of Howard L. Rich of Rich & Tucker Associates, and Sidney Shurcliff of Shurcliff and Merrill, Landscape Architects. All buildings constructed at Wheaton between 1948 and 1966 were designed by Rich and Shurcliff, and placed according to the master plans they devised for the College from 1955 to 1972. Their plan incorporated modern design styles in its flexibility, its open plan taking advantage of views and sunlight, and its creation of groups of buildings that could be built one at a time without damaging the effectiveness of the group, and preserving and using the natural landscape to advantage. Their plan included three grouped dormitories, two new classroom buildings, two more dormitories, a dining hall and kitchen, and playing fields. Later, a new gymnasium, post office, a library wing, and science facilities were built, but these are not part of the Chapman Campus.
Modern buildings designed by Rich and Shurcliff during this period include: Young Hall (1957); a new Peacock Pond Bridge (1957); U.S. Post Office (1957, not on Chapman Campus); athletic fields and tennis courts (1958, tennis courts not on Chapman Campus); McIntire Hall (1959); Chase Dining Hall (Round, 1959, Square, 1964); Meneely Hall (1959, the first class-room building constructed at Wheaton since 1911); Clark Hall (1960); Watson Fine Arts Center (1962); Meadows Complex (1964); Clark Recreation Center (1965, not on Chapman Campus); Elizabeth Amen Nursery School (1966, not on Chapman Campus); and the Science Center (1968, not on Chapman Campus).
A bronze plaque set in a large rock placed outside Chase Round was dedicated on October 21, 1977 in honor of Mr. Chapman, who was a member of the board of trustees from 1939 to 1970, and its chairman from 1947 to 1964. He had overseen many additions to the campus, including all of the construction east of Peacock Pond. Mr. Chapman was the director of New England Merchants Bank and a trustee of many other institutions. The Chapman Campus includes all of lower campus, although there are several nineteenth-century houses used for faculty and student housing around its periphery.
In recent years, Wheaton has been improving the landscaping of Lower Campus, according to a plan by Sasaki Associates. Parking lots and excessive pavement have been removed, and replaced with additional lawns, terraces, walkways, and plantings. The edge of Peacock Pond, previously natural, has been faced with a stone retaining wall. Steps leading into the water at the eastern end form a launching ramp for the annual "Head of the Peacock" non-traditional boat race. A large parking lot at the southeast edge of the campus replaces the older lots. Keefe Field (1992) and Mirrione Field (women's soccer complex created from Elms Field in 2003) have drawn larger crowds to the athletic events on Lower Campus. Martin Sokoloff prepared the latest campus master plan.
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