By Alyssa Sanford
The College’s Director of Campus Planning and Campus Architect Lynda Rothermel presented the current Facilities Master Plan to the Student Government general body on Wednesday, Sept. 16, in order to give members a sense of how the campus will develop over the next decade.
Rothermel said the Master Plan has been updated several times over the last few years, partly because the previous plan, which covered the years 2012 through 2020, was “ambitious in pretty much every way,” particularly in a financial sense.
Though Campus Planning “assumed we’d have good economic times” and plenty of donations to sustain extensive renovations and construction on campus, those things didn’t happen, according to Rothermel.
A key component of the Facilities Master Plan is that it “must have the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions,” Rothermel said in her presentation.
Some of the short-term changes to campus, which are projected to happen between 2015 and 2018, are currently funded, according to Rothermel. They include the expansion and renovation of the Brower Student Center, Phase One of the STEM building construction and renovations to the Biology Building in the Science Complex.
The next steps are currently unfunded, but Rothermel revealed them to the general body regardless: renovations to Travers and Wolfe Halls; updates to Armstrong, Forcina and Roscoe West; and a potential new Nursing/Health and Exercise Science/Public Health building that would free up some space in Packer Hall.
Since Travers and Wolfe are part of an older building, it will need “a lot of work,” Rothermel said. She cited problems with its single-pane windows — which are energy inefficient — and the need for extensive repairs to the plumbing and electric systems, which are “all very old.”
Rothermel said that after analyzing costs, Campus Planning found that it would cost between $15-20 million to install air conditioning units in Travers and Wolfe, and even then it would not have enough “capacity to chill,” so there will be no units installed when the towers are renovated in the future.
Rothermel also talked about how Campus Town will affect traffic patterns on campus. She highlighted areas on a projection of the campus map, calling the main walkway that runs from Loser Hall to ABE the “campus core.” It’s an area that needs more direct access to Campus Town, since both are “high-activity areas,” according to Rothermel.
Rothermel assured the general body that the lack of funding for future projects will not cause a significant spike in tuition costs.
“There’s some talk about the state issuing another bond,” Rothermel said, before acknowledging that it’s too early to make definitive statements. She also pointed out that it would not make sense to raise tuition because if tuition became unaffordable, no students would be able to take advantage of the resources on campus.
“At what point does an increase in students… (lead to) losing money?” Rothermel asked rhetorically.
After the presentation, cabinet members updated the general body on various upcoming events.
Amanda Williams, vice president of Advancement, announced “Project FAQ,” which will pair photos and short biographies of SG members on bulletin boards around campus. It’s “a way for people not in Student Government to know who (members of SG) are,” Williams said.
Vice President of Administration and Finance Tyler Holzer is still working on “closing the loop” and meeting with the Division of Administration. He was referring to adding a sidewalk to the loop around campus so that people will feel safer walking and jogging around it.
“It doesn’t seem like that is probable,” Holzer said, but his committee is hoping to “open the door” to further discussion.
Priscilla Nunez, vice president of Equity and Diversity, reminded SG members about “A Touch of Home,” the multicultural event set to take place in Alumni Grove during meal equivalency hours on Monday, Sept. 28.
“You’re going to want to eat the food,” Nunez said.