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Vermont Family Forests
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Middlebury College - LaForce Hall

LaForce Hall marked the first project in which the College itself, as an enrolled VFF landowner, provided a portion (60%) of the green-certified lumber for its own building.

LaForce Hall

Original ceiling specifications for LaForce Hall would have necessitated special milling in Wisconsin. With VFF's input, architects altered specifications such that Tioli Woodworking of Middlebury could produce the 23,000 board feet of ceiling panels.

Logger Bill Torrey of Jericho, Vermont, skids hardwood for LaForce Hall to the log landing in Middlebury College's woodland.

As is the case with all VFF-approved harvests, Middlebury College's woodland remains ecologically intact immediately following the LaForce Hall timber harvest.

Sawyer Bob Growney of Shoreham, Vermont, milled each beech log into 3/8" thick flitches for wall paneling in LaForce Hall's Eleanor Ross lounge. All flitches from a given log received the same letter, and the flitches were numbered in the order in which they were sawed. Woodworkers then applied the finished flitches as horizontal paneling on the lounge walls in this same order, revealing to observant visitors how grain patterns changes within the trees.

Sawyer Bob Growney and his daughter Cindy sort beech flitches.

LaForce Lumber was kiln-dried by Caladonia Kiln Corporation in St. Johnsbury, VT.

Brian Sutton of southern Quebec (within the Champlain Watershed) milled the flooring for LaForce Hall. Brian stands before stacks of stickers, narrow pieces of wood used in stacking wood so that it dries evenly and remains straight.

The beautiful and unusual beech paneling evolved as a result of VFF's involvement in the project. Architects originally stipulated uniform-width, clear cherry paneling for the lounge, something that Addison County forests could not sustainably provide. Instead, VFF showed architects the inherent beauty in more charactered wood—this time beech, which grows more abundantly than cherry in this region. So impressed were the architects with the wood's beauty and with the story revealed by the progressive layers of wood, that it became a featured element in their design