Campus became every constructor’s dream over summer as demolition started and the Vision In Action campaign gained speed.
Construction began on Bennett Gymnasium shortly before the spring 2014 semester ended, and continued through summer. Plans for Chamber Hall’s demolition were enacted and other buildings on campus received renovations accordingly.
Kevin Roberts, vice president of planning and operations, said he had to deal with the construction of Bennett, the athletic fields and relocation offices as well as dorm maintenance over summer break.
“Summers are always, in the facility world, our hands down busiest season,” he said.
Renovations for Bennett began around April last semester with the roping off of a few parking spots in the Nelson lot and by the Phillips Education building.
Roberts said the construction process was delayed two weeks because a truck to pour the cement was not available to be rented.
As of now, the building has been gutted, the foundation laid and a steel skeleton of the building is being set up with walls coming soon.
With weekly meetings in place to talk about design elements and classroom placements in Bennett, Roberts said he hopes construction will be completed by the end of September or early October.
“Over the course, then, of the rest of that semester, each department will move in and get all their stuff set up and get ready to teach classes starting spring semester,” he said.
However, in discussions in May, the physics and engineering departments were told Bennett would be ready for use by the start of this semester. Jess Dowdy, associate professor and assistant chair of engineering and physics, said the extended construction has forced him and other professors to frequently rearrange where classes will be held.
“I think it’s very difficult,” he said. “A lot of plans have had to be put on hold, but we’re going to manage.”
The departments will utilize space in the Maker Lab, and use the dean of arts and sciences’ conference room for lab space.
After Bennett is complete, Roberts said attention will be directed to the demolition of Walling Lecture Hall and work on the exterior of Foster Science Building. This will include removing the foyer between Foster and Walling, returning to the original design of the building and adding a glass face to the front of the building.
Chambers will then be demolished to be replaced with the Halbert-Walling Research Center. After classes move into that building, the interior of Foster will be renovated to transform the building into the Robert R. Onstead Center.
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