Rodney Raven is not the only thing that has experienced improvement at AU over the summer. Campus staff has been hard at work for the past few months to ensure a warm welcome for students as they return to campus.
As Ravens return to their favorite campus coffee shop, they may find it unrecognizable. Last semester, SGA surveyed the student body about what changes they wanted to see the most on campus. Updates to Mocha Joe’s won by a landslide.
According to Whitney Jimenez, the business manager of business and auxiliary services, Mocha Joe’s has received several exciting updates.
“We’ve purchased a new espresso machine, added outlets and charging stations and added and refreshed tables and chairs,” explained Jimenez. “We replaced and updated all furniture on the stage side, added lighting, painted the ceiling black on the stage side and gave the entire area a fresh coat of paint.”
Jimenez said that planning for the project began in April as she worked alongside SGA leaders, listening to what students had to say, however, the remodeling process could not begin until late July due to numerous summer camps that were hosted on campus.
“This past spring, the 2018-19 SGA staff brought some of these things, like the need for better lighting and more seating, to my attention,” said Jimenez. “Using information from an SGA forum and meetings with SGA, as well as information provided by the student managers of Mocha Joe’s, we formed a plan to provide a better experience for students beginning this fall.”
Jimenez noted that this was just one of the numerous summer renovations that students will be excited to find upon return.
Another notable project that was completed over the summer was the construction on College Drive—a renovation that paved the way for more pedestrian safety.
According to Joe Royer, the executive director of facilities and property management, the summer project contained numerous important updates.
“This design provides many safety features, such as Americans with Disabilities Act approved ramps, proper drainage, removal of parking on one side of the street, much improved lighting and a new street surface, as well as new sidewalks,” he said.
Royer explained that the construction also brought a few seating benches and new curbs for College Drive.
The intention behind this project was to improve pedestrian safety, a goal that Royer believes was fully accomplished.
“We haven’t had a lot of pedestrian traffic on College Drive yet, as school has not yet started and the project was just completed,” Royer explained. “But I’m confident this issue will be improved.”
Royer noted that there were many smaller projects across campus that will benefit students greatly.
According to Royer, the CAB Office received a few updates, as well as the Marketplace.
“The ceiling lights in the Marketplace have been changed out to LED fixtures,” Royer explained. He then added that many of the electrical and plumbing hookups across much of the old campground site on Fifth Street have been completely removed, allowing that area to serve more purposes for AU.
Other improvements that will benefit students across campus include interior painting in Dunn and Myers lobbies, a new design for the Student Financial Services lobby, new flooring for the Welcome Center, design updates on the third floor of Decker, a new student lounge in the School of Theology and large banners placed throughout campus installed by marketing and communications.
“A number of significant improvements have been made over the summer,” said Royer. “Hopefully, these will have a positive impact on students.”