Facilities team spends summer months updating campus buildings

Kelly Bergh September 11, 2015 0

Over the summer, the Elizabethtown College Department of Facilities Management and Construction had the opportunity to work on some of 2015’s biggest campus projects. In an attempt to beautify and update Etown architecturally and technologically, Facilities director Mark Zimmerman, his team of 75 workers and multiple student employees made progress on over half a dozen major upgrades to the campus so that students could come back from summer vacation to a modern, efficient learning environment.
Perhaps the largest of the projects taking place on campus over the past three months is the Nicarry Hall renovation. A home to many different academic departments, Nicarry received upgrades that could affect every class taught in the building. From more outlets to new whiteboards, “what we wanted was to replace the old, outdated lecture-style tiered classroom,” Zimmerman said. Deeming the new classrooms “huddle spaces” for collaborative efforts, Facilities, along with the ITS and education departments, redesigned them so that they would be “more conducive to learning,” Zimmerman said. This required addressing “the needs for the users of each room.”
The department that is most affected by the changes is ITS. Designed to mimic a Starbucks-like café and create a comfortable problem-solving environment, the area is colorful and encourages socializing. “It’s more helpful, I think, to the people that come in,” senior ITS employee Marcus Clarke said of the open space. First-year French and International Business major Molly Walmer agreed, adding that her place of employment “more professional” since it “can accommodate more people.” Zimmerman hopes that the vibrant new space will “hopefully take away some of that anguish” associated with the inevitable technology problems most students and employees at a college face.
Next summer, after graduation, Facilities would like to make more progress on Nicarry, such as beginning renovations on the second floor and replacing the roof.
The BSC has also been given an upgrade: its current generator has been moved to supply emergency power to the residence halls around the Dell in order to make room for a new 150kW natural gas generator. Students living in Schlosser and Royer can take comfort in knowing that the generator replacement will ensure that they are equipped with a sufficient power source in case of an outage.
Changes that will most affect student athletes include a replacement of the Thompson Gymnasium’s floor and a track resurfacing. The former project became a necessity after last spring’s heavy rains leaked through the roof while the building was being worked on. Three inches of water covering the gym floor required it to be torn up. The sport most impacted by this construction is volleyball, as they now need to practice and host matches at Elizabethtown High School. The inconvenience is temporary, however, since the project will bewrapping up relatively soon. “It is scheduled to be completed by the end of October,” Zimmerman said.
After playing on Thompson’s new floor, athletes can make use of the two renovated locker rooms, 121.1 and 121.2, that received floors and lockers that were built in-house.
The outdoor track behind Leffler Chapel and Performance Center is in the process of getting a makeover, as well. The old track, which was intended to last the College 10 years, had been in place for 15 when it was deemed fit for retirement. Athletes will now get the opportunity to run on a Mondotrack SX surface, deemed one of the best track options by competitive athletes in 132 countries.
A topic of discussion in the near future will be the proposed field house, a center intended to promote fitness and wellness on campus by integrating sports facilities with instruction space. Highlights of the building, should it be built, would include an indoor track and there “could even be a classroom up there,” Zimmerman said.
Facilities is constantly working to maintain current features of campus and integrate state-of-the art technologies so that Etown can sport a competitive edge in both athletics and academics. For more information on the renovations taking place around campus, contact Mark Zimmerman at zimmermanma@etown.edu.

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