WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- In a long and casual email apparently sent to all staff and faculty, the president of Williams College has revealed the school is mulling a proposal for a 60-room hotel to be built on college-owned land at the south end of Spring Street.
College President Adam Falk wrote:
"A professional feasibility study confirmed that a hotel of around 60 rooms, located somewhere around where the American Legion building is now, would be profitable. If this project were to go ahead, it would be developed with funds other than those used for college operations, and the running of the hotel would be contracted out. Such a project, of course, would take several years."
About 15 years ago the same parcel was considered for construction of a performing-arts center but was rejected after neighbors objected and wetlands issues arose. Presently, the Williams Inn operates on land owned by Williams College and in a building built by the school. The college remains involved in the finances of the Williams Inn.
In the email, Falk also disclosed the college is mulling whether it would make sense to move the college-owned Water Street Books to Spring Street and create what he called a "college store." And he commented on the ebb-and-flow of store openings and closings on Spring Street. His comments come amid the news that St. Pierre's Barber Shop will relocate, a deli store has closed, and other storefronts are in transition.
In the email, college President Adam Falk also disclosed:
- The college will donate four acres of land next to the 60-unit Proprietor's Field senior-housing complex for use to create an affordable-housing development. The development is viewed as a way to assist current and former residents of a town mobile-home park displace by August, 2011 flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. (Read Transcript story)
- The college facilitated an effort by a group of Williams alumni which resulted in over $450,000 being raised to support academic-enrichment and teacher-training programs at the regional public high school serving Williamstown -- Mount Greylock Regional High School. (See iBerksihres STORY)