Recent renovations to AU’s campus have not gone unnoticed by students returning for another semester of classes. After more than three months of summer vacation, students arrived to a newly-paved valley and a renovated residence hall, among many more changes that together significantly improved the appearance of campus. More renovations, like those currently underway outside of Decker Hall, are to come in the near future.
“[President Pistole] speaks to excellence in all things, and our campus needs to strive to reflect that excellence,” said Dean of Students Chris Confer, speaking to the reasoning behind renovations this year.
Although the construction project immediately outside of Decker Hall may be an obstacle for those heading to class or chapel, it will result in much-needed improvements to the grounds once finished. The renovations include replacing uneven bricks on the walkway with concrete that will still appear to be brick, but is a more cost-effective material than brick. The plan to add greenery will also improve the aesthetic appeal of the area.
“[The area outside of Decker] is the front door to our campus,” said Confer. “These renovations will improve its appeal and eliminate the hazard of broken and uneven bricks that can be difficult to walk on and can possibly cause injury, especially in bad weather.”
Other changes that are currently underway include a complete renovation of Morrison House, the center of counseling services at AU. Once the project is finished, the building will sport brand new flooring and bathrooms, as well as a new kitchenette, roof and landscaping. The end date of the project is currently unknown, but students can continue to request counseling appointments by visiting health services while Morrison House is under construction.
Many of the renovations to AU’s campus occurred during the summer, when the majority of students were not present to witness them. The renovation of Myers Hall was one of those major projects.
Over the course of the summer, Myers Hall received new carpeting and furniture, as well as a renovated lobby that gives a welcoming and pleasant atmosphere. Some renovations to the residence hall, which houses upperclassmen female students, are still underway. Confer stated that these muchneeded renovations will succeed in “creating a more enjoyable living experience” for residents.
Some seemingly small but major renovations that may have gone overlooked by returning students include the trimming and removal of dead trees for safety and aesthetic purposes and the fresh coats of paint on Helios and benches in the valley.
In addition, walkways in the valley were freshly paved, giving the campus a more fresh and clean appearance.
Certain departments on campus have recently changed location and received renovations as well. For instance, the Sociology and Social Work Departments, which were formerly located in Decker Hall, have now been moved to Hartung Hall.
Even AU faculty and staff got involved in campus renovations over the summer. “One day during the summer, faculty and staff were asked to pull on gloves and pick up a paint brush,” recalled Confer. “Together, about 80 or 90 people painted benches, trimmed up the grounds and improved the looks of campus.” Their work helped to prepare campus for the crowds that arrived for the annual Colts Camp while also readying AU the upcoming school year.
The recent renovation projects to AU’s campus were made possible by three major monetary gifts granted to the university by anonymous donors over the summer. The gifts allowed the university to finally move forward with renovation plans that have been set aside for some time due to a lack of financial means.
Another notable change on campus is the emptiness of Rice Hall. Plans for Rice have yet to be finalized. However, according to Confer, meetings concerning the fate of the residence hall have been scheduled and it is possible that plans may arise within a few months.
“There has been miscommunication regarding when Rice Hall will be taken down,” said Confer. “As of now, it is unknown when the building will be coming down. In fact, if another donor steps forward to make it possible, we may be able to completely renovate it and open it up again for residents.” The possibility of renovation remains uncertain at this time.
More renovations to AU’s campus are currently being planned, but have not yet been made public.