Construction, renovations on schedule

While the cold might keep students inside, it hasn’t halted the university’s ongoing construction efforts.

Phil Gatton, Plant and Service Operations director, said the Student Services building, a construction project that has cost the university more than $15 million generated from student fees, remains on schedule and could be completed as early as late summer or early fall. Multiple other projects could finish within the year, he said.

Rod Sievers, university spokesman, said the building will allow multiple services for students to be available under one roof. The Student Services building will consolidate many university-offered offices and services that may have been scattered around campus, he said.

“It’s sort of a one-stop shop for students,” Sievers said.

The Student Services building was slated to be completed in fall 2013, Gatton said. An old parking garage was demolished to make room for the project.

According to a Board of Trustees statement released when the project began, the building will accommodate enrollment-related offices and function as a welcome center for prospective students. The building will also have an open reception area with the latest technology to meet student needs.

While the Student Services building is the closest to completion, other university projects will soon be underway. McLafferty Annex renovations should begin this summer, Gatton said, and new heating and cooling coils will be installed in Life Science II.

“There is a lot going on,” he said. “Pulliam pool/gym renovation has started, and the estimated completion date is fall 2014. The renovation of Morris Library 6th and 7th floors should start within the next month and be completed summer 2014. There are also a number of classrooms and labs receiving technology upgrades as well as new lighting and aesthetic upgrades.”

Shryock Auditorium is receiving a new dimming system, and an elevator is being installed in the A wing of the Engineering building along with various other projects, Gatton said.

Sievers said general building updates are routine on any campus.

“I’d say there’s always some minor construction projects going around any university,” Sievers said. “You got to maintain your buildings, you got to do repairs and of course you’re always trying to improve campus for students, staff and faculty.”

However, the ongoing campus construction has also led to mixed student reaction.

Stephanie Mendoza, a freshman from Chicago studying theater, said she had issues navigating campus when the Brush Towers were under construction, but she hasn’t had problems with student services construction and could understand why people get confused when they search for student service offices.

“It was hard because we had to go all the way around Trueblood, but now that it’s over, we can cut through very fast,” she said.

Nick Kaiser, a senior from Normal studying speech communications, said the construction has not obstructed him.

“Last semester (construction crews) had a bit of a block between getting into the Student Center, which was (a) minor (inconvenience), but they’ve kind of fixed that since then,” he said.

Kaiser said he thinks the Student Services building’s construction has been quick and will provide the campus with much needed convenience.

“I used to work in Woody Hall, and getting anything around there is kind of weird because it wasn’t built to be an administrative building,” he said.


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