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Thank you to everyone who attended our community meeting on February 27.? It was a valuable opportunity for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) team to share the findings of our recent Strategic Facilities Assessment (SFA) and preliminary plans for the Village Campus.? Equally important was the feedback received at the meeting and since from our neighbors and the broader community.

As noted in previous communications and the meeting, the SFA was conducted to match the current state of our facilities with the varying needs of our scientists and engineers — both for today and the future.? Some of these projects are now in a position to move forward. .? After outlining plans to replace the Iselin Dock and previewing possible future updates to the Quissett Campus, the meeting focused on near term plans for the Village Campus.? (A quick note here:? we refer to the non-waterfront part of our Village Campus informally as “Village Hill;” it is not a formal name, but it helps us distinguish the two areas internally).

Our team at Dewing Schmid Kearns (DSK), the architecture firm that assisted WHOI with its Strategic Facilities Assessment provided an overview of the key components to the Village Campus updates.? The proposals presented during the meeting include:

  • Extending Challenger Drive through the campus, exiting onto School Street. The proposed extension would roughly follow the informal path currently adjacent to the WHOI gardens and exit onto School Street.? This road would provide greater safety, reduce WHOI related traffic on Woods Hole Road/Water Street, support better circulation, create easier access to current and proposed parking and allow for a more formal pedestrian and bike paths on campus.
  • Add new parking, concentrated near the School Street entrance to the campus, with additional spots in the Challenger Drive lot to offset the relocation of spaces from the Iselin Dock and add limited additional parking.
  • Improve signage on the Village Campus, to both be more consistent and support improved wayfinding, safety, and traffic circulation.

Though the WHOI campus is private property, we value our partnership with the Woods Hole community and appreciate your feedback.? The public commentary reinforced the role the Institution’s campus plays – as a community garden, a source of informal green spaces and a connector between key parts of Woods Hole Village.? A consistent comment was the concern that the proposed new Challenger Drive would negatively impact the land adjacent to the WHOI gardens.

DSK and our internal planning and management teams are carefully considering all the feedback. Our goal is to determine if there are ways to address the community concerns while still meeting our needs.? We plan to discuss these issues further, along with our subsequent thoughts and deliberations with the Community Advisory Committee (which includes representation from several key neighborhood, business and civic organizations) later this month.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can access both a video of the presentation (see below) and a copy of the slides. If you have additional feedback, please submit them via email to facilities@whoi.edu.

We expect to share updated proposals at an informal meeting of the Falmouth Historical Commission on April 03 for additional feedback and input.? Any information presented during that meeting will be shared via the www.whoi.edu/facilitiesupdates webpage as well.

On behalf of the entire WHOI team, I thank the community for its participation and feedback.

Sincerely,

Rob Munier

 

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