Construction — get used to it, it’s here to say

Incoming freshmen will soon realize that at the College, bulldozers and cranes are as much as fixture of the campus as the clock tower atop Green Hall. While some projects like the New Library are coming to completion, others are just getting under way and some are just taking a very long time.

The New Library is slated to be finished and open by Aug. 29. Begun Summer 2003, the two-year project was set back by trouble with the foundation and fabricating of its concrete interiors. According to the Library Web site, however, the project “essentially remains on schedule.”

The New Library is 134,000 square feet and five stories, almost one and a half times larger than the 90,000 square foot Roscoe L. West Library. The new facility includes 24 group study rooms, Wireless and LAN connectivity for computing, a caf?, 24-hour study area and a 105-person capacity auditorium.

The Library Web site describes the new building as “elegant yet friendly and inviting throughout.” Its vision statement is to provide “an intellectual, cultural and social center for the College.”

Less successful was the College’s attempt to build a series of three, three-story apartment buildings along the campus’ main road, Metzger Drive. The completion date, originally slated for Fall 2004, is still unknown. Work was halted due to extensive water damage in Summer 2004, forcing many upperclassmen originally assigned to apartment rooms to live in Norsworthy and Centennial Halls last year.

The unfinished status of the apartments has had other consequences too. Lot 6, a four-story, 1,000-car parking deck completed for Fall 2004 to house cars for students living in the Metzger Drive Apartments has gone underutilized. While students from Ely, Allen, Brewster, Centennial, Country Club Apartments, and Transfer Housing use the deck, on most days it sits more than half-empty.

In addition, the College has scrapped plans to replace Centennial and Norsworthy halls with new freshmen housing options.

“When we looked at it from a very practical sense, we realized that in reality they weren’t going to be as attractive as we thought on paper,” Mary Elaine-Perry, former vice president of Student Life, told The Signal in February.

The College also started work on a new athletics complex to serve as the home field for the College softball, field hockey and soccer teams. Built on the former sites of Lots 6, 7 and 8, the facility will include a softball field and a multi-purpose athletic field for field hockey and soccer.

The softball field will feature wheelchair-accessible grandstand spectator seating, fenced bullpens, a batting cage and a press box. There will also be a concession stand to serve both the softball and soccer fields.

The project is “another reaffirmation of the College’s support for the athletic program,” Kevin McHugh, executive director of Student Development and Programs, said at the groundbreaking.

The Spiritual Center is another recent addition to the College campus. Located between Norsworthy and Decker Halls, the 4,000-square foot building opened Dec. 8, 2005, after being under construction since April 2003. Administered by the Center for Campus Wellness, it serves as the spiritual home for many religious organizations on campus.

“I love the new building” Reverend Rich Kocses of the Protestant Bible Fellowship told The Signal in February, three months after the Spiritual Center opened.