Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pardon our dust

College Hall expansionDon’t you just love summer? Sunshine, no winter coats, vacations, open windows, t-shirts, orange barrels lining the interstate. Well, maybe not the orange barrels.

Summer is a prime time for construction on the interstate system… and on Bluffton’s campus.

Every year our own buildings and grounds staff work to renovate and maintain existing buildings with new roofs, windows and other behind-the-scenes routine maintenance. This summer they planted trees, completed the College Hall replacement window project, continued the Musselman Library lighting project and installed new carpeting in select Ramseyer Residence Hall rooms and new shower floors in Ropp Addition. Many of these projects will reduce energy consumption.

In recent years the construction crew from Thomas & Marker, Bellefontaine, Ohio, almost seems like an extension of building and grounds. This is the company that built Yoder Recital Hall (1996), Centennial Hall (2000) and Bob’s Place (2002), along with renovating Beeshy Bridge, Klassen Court and other projects across campus.

Summer 2010 is no different, except this year Thomas & Marker has taken on three projects, a renovation in the Burcky Gym locker rooms and additions to College Hall and Musselman Library that will make these historic buildings accessible for all.

Musselman LibraryThe three story College Hall addition is being built on the west side and includes classroom upgrades, lobby areas, restrooms and an elevator. (pictured above) Plans are being made for an official tours to be given on Homecoming, Saturday, Oct. 9. The new Musselman Library elevator entrance is located on the west side of the library building. (pictured to left)

The Burcky Gym renovation greatly expanded the locker room facilities for baseball and football. During an open house preview last Friday, current football Coach Tyson Veidt and former football Coach Carlin Carpenter were comparing the old and new facilities. “The old locker room wall was here,” Carlin said indicating an imaginary line nearly cutting the new space in half. And when the AC kicked on he exclaimed, “And there is air conditioning! We never had air conditioning.”

The new locker room complex prepares the way for the next major building project on the master plan, a health and fitness education center which will be Bluffton’s first LEED-Certified building project.

So yes, while construction can be an annoyance, pardon our dust because the finished product is going to be sweet.

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