Friday, September 14, 2012

Construction upgrades continue across campus

By Camille Adams, Guest Writer

Over the summer, the campus was abuzz with change—and the transformations continue.

Hauge Administration Building rooms 204A and 206A, have undergone remodeling. The physics offices in Rieke Science Center have also been remodeled. The cost of these classroom upgrades approaches $100,000.

In Mary Baker Russell Music Center, music students can now perform on the refinished stage and safely walk under the refurbished gutters. 

Across campus, the first three floors of Harstad Hall have been completely revamped as well as the lobby of Student Services.

According to John Kaniss, director of construction management, temporary “boilers in a box” are currently providing heat for Hong, Hinderlie, and Kreidler Halls, due to of the renovation of Eastvold, soon to be the Karen Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  Boilers in Eastvold, which usually serve this purpose, are shut down for construction.

The Mordvedt Library, on the other hand, will soon receive a new cooling system. The library also acquired carpeting for the first floor and a fire suppression system for the computer center, totaling almost $448,000.

The swimming pool will be ready for use as soon as leaking pipes are replaced, and the exterior work at Harstad will be wrapped up in the next few weeks. 

These upgrades do not come at a small price. Repairing boilers in Olsen alone cost $18,000.

PLU spent 2.6 million on the synthetic and natural turf fields on lower campus. The perks of the new facilities include Wi-Fi, water, power, and an automated irrigation system on the natural turf field, which will be ready for use next year. The synthetic field is nearly completed, following the pending installation of lighting and a scoreboard.

The adjacent softball field has meanwhile been leveled to accommodate a new drainage system with a total cost of $35,000.

The pitcher’s mound and batting cages have also been relocated.

 A new cross country trail runs through what used to be the golf course, and the hammer throw is now located south of the track. 

There are still many improvements on the way, such as new bleachers in Olsen Auditorium. This project will commence in December and undergo three phases until its completion in March. Classes will continue around the construction.

“It’s inconvenient,” senior Melanie Venahus, who lived on campus over the summer, said of the recent repairs. “But it’s all for the better.” 

Starting next summer, a project originally scheduled for this past June called the Campus Entrance Project will begin. It will revamp the main entrance to the university at the intersection of Park and Garfield. The front entrance will feature a roundabout drive and a welcome sign.

“I think a new entrance to the campus is a great idea because it would make clear who we are in the community,” first-year Liesel Shulholm said.

Plans for the north side of Garfield Street, which PLU now owns, across from the US Post Office, are also in progress.  The four story complex will include retailers, the Department of Human Resources, and the Marriage and Family Therapy Department on the ground floor. The top three floors will feature one- and two-bedroom studio apartments.