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The Class of 1969 is bringing back a beloved Dartmouth landmark for future generations
Many people know the Dartmouth Outing Club house—located on the north shore of Occom Pond—as the place to rent ice skates, cross-country skis, or snowshoes for a bracing winter ramble. After making a few trips around the pond or across the snow-covered golf course, the house is a welcoming point of return that offers socializing with other rosy-cheeked enthusiasts, and—if you’re lucky—hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows by the fire.
The original DOC house was constructed in 1929 as a gift from the Class of 1900. It has served Dartmouth alumni, faculty, staff, and local residents as a social gathering place for nine decades, creating many fond memories but sustaining significant wear and tear over time.
As Paul Tuhus ’69 puts it, “It’s been loved to death.”
In 2014, the Class of 1969 hosted a 45th reunion luncheon on the back lawn of the DOC house. After the plates were cleared, Tuhus says he “corralled” three other class members for an inspection walk around the property and pitched an ambitious idea: to commemorate their 50th reunion, the Class of 1969 would fund the renovation of the DOC house. Support for the project grew and soon the entire class was on board to formally take on the grand renewal as a gift to the community.
“You have Occom Pond right there and it’s such a winter wonderland,” says former class president John Mathias ’69. “The house was always a big part of the Winter Carnival experience. It’s really a gateway to the Still North. And it’s a perfect place to kick back and read a book by the fireplace. We wanted to revive that experience for the students, faculty, and staff—for the whole Hanover community, really.”
After vigorously championing their cause with Dartmouth College leadership, the class received approval as sole funders of the project and the campaign began in earnest to raise the project cost.
At the time of this writing, 88 percent of the $3 million goal has been secured or pledged by 185 classmates. This is the biggest, most ambitious 50th reunion class project in the history of Dartmouth College.
“That's in addition to the traditional 50th Reunion gift we made to the Dartmouth College Fund. We've always been supportive of the annual fund and wouldn’t ever consider not keeping our commitment to the students,” Mathias explains.
Dartmouth has retained the services of local Lyme architect Randall T. Mudge, known for his work on the highly acclaimed Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse, located a mile north of the Dartmouth campus. With all planning documents, early permitting, and value engineering completed, Dartmouth awaits a building permit. The eight-month construction phase will begin early this fall. The class and the community will dedicate the newly-renovated DOC House next year, likely at Homecoming 2021.
Plans call for relocating the large dining room and adding a wall of south-facing windows to bring in natural light and provide sweeping views of Occom Pond. Upgrades will include new bathrooms, a coat room, and multi-use kitchen, as well as sustainable heating and electrical systems to serve the entire facility. Outdoor improvements will include adding an entry-level porch, a pond-side dining terrace, and elegant stone garden stairs.
When the construction dust settles, the Dartmouth community will again have a special spot to hold formal, casual, commemorative, and celebratory social activities within and around this strong, quiet building, for generations to come.
The Class of 1969 plans to complete fundraising by December 2020. “I’ve never been involved in large-scale fundraising before,” Tuhus says, “but I have no doubt we’ll reach our goal.”