Elizabethtown College community members can expect to see a new and improved bridge on the Dell within the next few weeks.
Students walking near the Dell early in the second week of the semester may have taken notice of the sudden absence of the little old bridge. Facilities workers removed it Tuesday morning in order to begin working on its replacement, a project funded by the recent graduates of the Class of 2014.
In continuation of the tradition of giving a gift to Etown upon graduating, during the 2014 spring semester the Class of 2014 held a fundraiser in which the majority of the class eagerly participated. Though a specific gift had not been decided upon at the time, the class still managed to exceed their goal of raising $2,500.
Class of 2014 president Adam Moore, who is now working on campus as an admissions counselor, is facilitating the project. Class of 2014 Advisor Ben Osterhout and Gary Dupler of the campus facilities department are also among the project’s management.
Wanting the gift to be both a nice visual and a tangible contribution to the campus, the team consulted the list of projects that facilities have to work on. They decided that the gift which best fit their wishes was a new bridge for the Dell. As the existing bridge was getting old and was in need of repair, its reconstruction will allow it to be more useful to both students and the facilities department.
“It’s a nice shortcut to get across campus,” Moore said. He hopes to see his class’ gift to their alma mater prove advantageous to the Etown community as a whole, as everyone walks through the Dell at some point or another. This present, he is sure, will be “beneficial for students.”
The Dell bridge will soon boast fortified “bridge piers” as its main supports and replacements for the current deteriorating support beams. In the facilities shop, the existing handrails will be modified and the deck boards will be sanded and then refinished. “We are trying to be sustainable by reusing as much of the existing structure as possible while giving the entire bridge a fresh look,” Dupler said.
The widening of the bridge, in addition to the repaving of the path cutting through the Dell, is intended to provide facilities with a convenient and more accessible route around campus for their maintenance trucks and, in winter, snow plows.
During the large events that are typically held in the Dell, such as Induction in the fall, holiday celebrations in the winter and Commencement in the spring, hundreds of people populate the space.
The new bridge will be able to better withstand the crowds of students, faculty and staff members and visitors walking across it. Its renovation will both ensure that the Dell is an accessible area and add yet another element of beauty to the campus.
Though the project does not have a specific timeline, as members of the campus facilities department are working on it as they have time, students can expect the new bridge to be in place in time for the Oct. 18 Homecoming festivities, when its dedication will be taking place.