Students should expect to see construction workers in hard hats during the first weeks of school as crews continue to hammer away at campus improvement projects.Although 13 apartments, 10 homes and four commercial buildings have been demolished around campus for future parking lots, students and faculty should not be disturbed, said Harold Leeman, Physical Plant associate director.
Spanish professor Daniel Lee said construction can be problematic, but the situation did not affect his summer school classes.
“It was the band camps that forced me to relocate my classes,” Lee said.
The $800,000 parking project will eventually provide approximately 1,000 parking spaces, Leeman said. However, only 73 spaces, which are located in front of the Secrest-Wible Building, are available right now, he said.
“We will continue to work on the property where Save-On was located throughout the semester,” Leeman said. “This particular project should provide 900 additional parking spaces for students and should be completed around the end of October.”
He said crews are working to finish the parking lot on the east side of Mid Court and Kent Street by Sept. 15.
In addition to parking funds, Leeman said, $4.18 million was set aside for the “reshoring” project, a term used to represent campuswide renovations. “Reshoring” will meet a range of needs, including creating larger instructional spaces, improving safety and upgrading offices and studios.
These funds are covering the cost of upgrades and repairs in Moudy Building South, which include lowered ceilings, increased lighting and a fire suppression system, Leeman said.
The funds will also pay for 10 new studios, upgraded ceramic kilns, an improved ventilation system and a fire suppression system for Moudy Building North, Leeman said.
The Mary Couts Burnett Library did not require renovations or repairs, but received several Teen Pods, which are areas equipped with six to eight computers and a plasma television where students can work in groups and connect to the Internet, Leeman said.
“I know the Pods will be popular because students were filling them up before they were even completed,” he said.
Other buildings are receiving renovations as well.
A SMART Home – an actual house with a student-designed robot that can perform tasks such as taking a plate out of the microwave and placing it on the table – was constructed in the Sid Richardson Building over the summer, said Leeman.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Don Mills said he is pleased with the renovation plans to increase the size of his office.
He said he is looking forward to a new conference room and work room, which will be the results of merging the Student Affairs office and the University Advancement office.
Linda Starnes, the administrative assistant to Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Don Whelan, said she is excited for the new offices to be finished.
“We are temporarily in the Kelly Alumni Center and, trust me, we can’t wait for the renovations to be completed,” Starnes said.