The Institute for Advanced Study is continuing to put out bids for construction of 15 units of facultyhousing on the historic Maxwell’s Field.
The Institute’s plans date back to earlier this year, when they rejected attempts at halting the construction projects.
A statement on the IAS’s website noted that the site of Maxwell’s Field is no longer valuable as an archaeological site. “The Berger Group’s report, produced in 2007, concluded that it is very unlikely that any concentrations of additional artifacts of the Battle of Princeton may be found on the building site,” it reads.
However, Kip Cherry, vice president of the Princeton Battlefield Society, said the Institute is ignoring the historic significance of remembering the Battle of Princeton.
Policy and communications director for the Civil War Trust, Jim Campi, said that the Trust attempted numerous times to acquire the property from IAS, offering to buy the 22-acre Maxwell's Field tract for $3.3 million in November 2015.
He said that IAS rejected this offer and in December 2015, the Trust offered $4.5 million, a price nearly 40 percent higher than the land's appraised value. Campi added that this second request was also rejected.
Trust first learned about the threat to Maxwell's Field through conversations with the National Park Service and the Princeton Battlefield Society, he said.
The Civil War Trust is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America's battlegrounds.
Cherry said that the Civil War Trust and the Battlefield Society started working together in 2014 in their endeavor to preserve the heart of the Princeton Battlefield.
“We feel that it is very important to preserve that part of the battlefield. We’ve been opposing the project since the very beginning,” Cherry said.
She explained that the IAS has taken a general stance that the Battle of Princeton is made up of general skirmishes and therefore lacks the value of a true historic site.
“This is a place where Washington used true strategy and leadership. This is the place he operated as a true general and this is why he was such an important figure in the creation of our nation. This is not a small thing. This has national importance.”
The field still contains artifacts that have yet to be discovered, Cherry said. Ten artifacts were discovered last year by The Ottery Group, a natural and cultural resource consulting firm based in Maryland.
“We haven’t been able to get the Institute to understand the significance," Cherry added.