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Construction complicates campus life

August 26, 2011


Since the beginning of the summer, men in hard hats, excavators, and maintenance crews have been nearly everywhere on the Monmouth College campus. Even with temperatures hitting over 90 degrees each day, construction for Monmouth’s most expensive building is underway as well as a remodeled admissions building. Already, many changes on campus have been completed such as sprinkler systems, additional parking lots, an outdoor classroom, and new windows in Cleland Hall.

The ongoing construction on campus since May has raised many concerns among students — one being that changes were being made to buildings while students were in the process of moving in.

Junior Casey Walker experienced this headache first hand while moving into the complex early for marching band. Maintenance crews were still installing the sprinkler system in his room when he arrived.

“I wish the school had decided to install the sprinklers earlier in the summer,” said Walker. “The maintenance crews did their best to not interfere with what we were doing, but it was really distracting at times.”

Also, the addition of the new science and business building has students fighting for parking spaces around Bowers Hall. However, the school had reason for waiting until Aug. 23, 2011 to finish all the small projects.

President Ditzler explained there are two main reasons for all of the small construction projects that happened over the summer.

His first reason is student safety. According to the Fire Sprinkler Dormitory Act (110 ILCS 47) signed by governor Rod Blagojevich on August 9, 2004, colleges must install sprinkler systems into all dormitories by 2013.

The addition of the sprinkler system to the fraternity complex appeared to be a rushed project at the end of the summer, but the college is meeting the deadline two years ahead of schedule. The installation of sprinklers in the fraternity complex and other buildings was put on a hold due to issues with the city of Monmouth. Monmouth could not support the amount of water pressure the college would be taking from the city, so until the city raised the limit for the amount of water pressure the school could use, Monmouth College had to wait to install the sprinkler system.

The sprinklers also seemed to cause problems for some residents of the complex and other halls. The pipes from the new system were left uncovered, and were not finished until most the members had moved in.

Senior SOFIA participant Zach Monti only experienced one problem with the maintenance workers, but in general felt the sprinkler system in the fraternity complex where he lives is unnecessary.

“I didn’t really have a problem with the construction crew, except for the noise at the early hours of the morning,” said Monti.  However, “In my opinion, the sprinklers were a bit unnecessary. If a fire were to occur, the sprinklers would spray 60 gallons per minute completely drenching everything in the room. The biggest concern with the pipe system would be the level of exposure. It would be too easy for an individual to damage the low-hanging pipes, causing the sprinkler to go off needlessly and ruin anything valuable close by.”

Despite a concern with the exposed sprinkler pipes, Ditzler explained that the fraternity complex will be torn down in the near future, so the appearance of the sprinklers was not a priority.

Another project that was finished this month was the installation of double pane windows in Cleland Hall. Roger Hess, the Director of Construction for Monmouth College, explained that unlike the sprinkler systems, the windows were installed not because of a law, but because the double pane windows are more energy efficient.

Besides student safety, the rest of the projects that were just completed needed to take place in order to accommodate the addition of the science and business building that will be used by fall 2013.

Students in Bowers Hall have lost a convenient parking lot due to construction for the new building. Those students are in turn parking in other lots around campus which means more students are looking for places to park. For students who live in the halls that line Ninth Street, a new $250,000 parking lot on 11th Street was added over the summer. The parking lot is on the site of the previous physical plant which has now been moved off campus on the corner of 6th Street and Route 34.

The Poling Hall parking lot was also remodeled by increasing the lane sizes to make room for delivery trucks. The delivery trucks previously used Archer Avenue to leave the Poling Hall parking lot. However, Archer Avenue is now permanently closed.

All of the construction leads back to the science and business building as the Admissions Building also went through some remodeling over the summer. The annex on the back of the Admissions Building was torn down costing the school approximately $75,000 in order to make room for the green house that will be used by science classes held in the new building.

Since the small construction projects are now finished, the science and business building is the only project underway. The new academic building has cost the college $34 million dollars with $8 million going towards furnishings and labor costs. With current economic conditions, the school saved an estimated $6 million dollars in construction costs. The Board of Trustees gave the approval for the new building during their May meeting. Construction began in mid-July.

Because of the economy, donations from alumni were needed to start construction for the science and business building.

“If you wait [to build], you lose Monmouth’s momentum,” said Ditzler. “Our new curriculum means expected academic excellence.”

Roger Hess agrees that the changes made this summer were necessary.

“We are very progressive,” said Hess. “We want to stay ahead of other liberal arts schools. We improve for the students.”

not because of a law, but because the double pane windows are more energy efficient.

Besides student safety, the rest of the projects that were just completed needed to take place in order to accommodate the addition of the science and business building that will be used by fall 2013.

On side-effect of the construction so far: Students in Bowers Hall have lost a convenient parking lot due to construction for the new building. Those students are in turn parking in other lots around campus which means more students are looking for places to park. For students who live in the halls that line Ninth Street, a new $250,000 parking lot on 11th Street was added over the summer. The parking lot is on the site of the previous physical plant which has now been moved off campus on the corner of Sixth Street and Route 34.

The Poling Hall parking lot was also remodeled by increasing the lane sizes to make room for delivery trucks. The delivery trucks previously used Archer Avenue to leave the Poling Hall parking lot. However, Archer Avenue is now permanently closed.

All of the construction leads back to the science and business building as the Admissions Building also went through some remodeling over the summer. The annex on the back of the Admissions Building was torn down costing the school approximately $75,000 in order to make room for the green house that will be used by science classes held in the new building.

Since the small construction projects are now finished, the science and business building is the only project underway. The new academic building has cost the college $34 million dollars with $8 million going towards furnishings and labor costs. With current economic conditions, the school saved an estimated $6 million dollars in construction costs. The Board of Trustees gave the approval for the new building during their May meeting, and construction began in mid-July.

Because of the economy, donations from alumni were needed to start construction for the science and business building.

“If you wait [to build], you lose Monmouth’s momentum,” said Ditzler. “Our new curriculum means expected academic excellence.”

Roger Hess agrees that the changes made this summer were necessary.

“We are very progressive,” said Hess. “We want to stay ahead of other liberal arts schools. We improve for the students.”

Stevie Croisant
Staff Writer

 

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