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The Melly Center addition to the library under construction, 1997.

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Temporary library entrance, 1997.

L. Thomas Melly Academic Center

In 1996, construction began on the L. Thomas Melly Academic Center, extending the entire south side of the library and creating the atrium. Finished in the spring of 1998, the project increased shelf space, and added honors suites, group study rooms, and the 24-hour computer lab. One of the primary goals of the Melly Center was to expand the technological capabilities of the library, improving internet access and adding word-processing and multimedia teaching areas.


The original Scissors, Spring 1989. Scandling Center can be seen in the background.

The Scissors

In the spring of 1989, Prof. Ted Aub's Three-Dimensional Design Class erected a scultpure of a giant pair of scissors in front of the library, near the Scandling Center. It was twenty feet tall and constructed out of wood. At the end of the school year, the sculpture was torn down by unknown vandals.

In November 1989, a permanent metal version of the sculpture was erected in its current location. The class issued a statement on the sculpture, part of which read:

Many discussions and arguments arose over this one piece because of its many different interpretations. Whatever these interpretations may be, it is important to understand the real intent of this sculpture. The scissors are not only interesting and exciting in a visual sense, but they also symbolize the distinct coordinate system here at the Colleges. Just as two parts of the scissors work together, so do the seperate colleges of Hobart and William Smith.


The Scissors, August 2017.

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Future site of the Gearan Performing Arts Center across Pulteney from the library and Scandling Center, 1984.


Gearan Center for the Performing Arts

In 2010, the Board of Trustees approved the building of a performing arts center on campus. The need for such a space had been discussed since the 1960s, but it was only after the highly successful Capital Campaign launched in 2006, that it was economically possible.

Construction began in 2014 and involved the demolition of several houses on Pulteney Street and the relocation of the Medbery parking lot north towards Hamilton Street. This left the Intercultural Center as the last remaining house on Pulteney Street between Hamilton and St. Clair.


Scandling Center Expansion

The summer of 2017 saw an addition to the Scandling Center. The addition was part of a larger renovation which added more student seating, flexible cooking spaces, and a new common room.