With fewer students on campus and plenty of sunny weather, the summer months prove to be a great time to complete campus improvement projects, and this summer is no exception. Over summer break several buildings will receive structural upgrades or renovations, and a new entrance will soon greet visitors entering campus from 48th Street and Prescott Avenue.
Making a grand entrance
As the first step toward implementing a new campus master plan, Union will begin construction on a new entranceway facing 48th Street from Prescott Ave—between the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Carnegie Building.
The entrance will feature decorative brick walls on either side of Prescott Avenue and large lettering welcoming visitors to Union College and College View Church—giving both entities a more definitive and pronounced place in the community.
College leaders believe the project will not only mark a clear entrance to the campus for visitors, but will make a statement to the community as well. “Many local residents of Lincoln drive by the campus without knowing it’s here or anything about the work we do,” said Vinita Sauder, president of Union College. “The project will give Union a grand official entrance, creating more awareness in the community and officially cementing us as part of Lincoln.”
Contractors plan to have the entrance finished in mid-September. The project will be funded by legacy gifts received from donor estates.
This summer a new bouldering will be installed under the stairway in the atrium of the Don Love Building. Similar to a climbing wall, a bouldering wall provides multiple handholds and footholds for climbers to practice on. Instead of climbing 25-30 feet up in the air, the bouldering wall provides an eight-foot wall with a ceiling also covered in hand- and footholds with thick mats underneath.
“This wall will be a great place for students to hang out and exercise, especially during the winter months,” said Linda Becker, vice president for Student Services. The International Rescue and Relief program built a bouldering wall in their old building, but it was not replicated in the new facility. IRR students use the wall to practice and prepare for wilderness rescue and survival training.
“The bouldering wall is an exciting project that we really hope the students will enjoy,” said Becker. “We are very thankful to all the donors who helped make this feature possible.”
The expected completion date is mid-August thanks to gifts from generous donors and the Union College student government.
This summer Rees Hall is receiving many repairs to combat the effects of harsh weather and age. While the framework of the 58-year-old building was made to last, the windows and roof needed replacement.
Embarking on the second year of a four-year plan, Rees Hall will get replacement windows on the north side of the building, with the west side being completed last summer. In addition, the roof will be replaced on the east wing of the building and the fourth floor will get new ceiling tiles.
Completing a project that started last school year, the entire first floor lobby will be completely remodeled for the first time since the building opened. “The renovation will make the lobby a fresh and more inviting place,” said Donene Braithwaite, dean of women. “The changes should make it easier for groups of students to study, watch movies, or relax together.”
Mens’ Residence Halls
Prescott Hall—the mens’ residence completed in the late 1960s—will have new carpet installed on the seventh floor.
Culver Hall—the men’s residence hall in the Ortner Center—will have twenty-two renovated student rooms. The rooms are old student rooms located in the wing above the Ortner Center guest rooms, and have sat empty for a number of years.
According to Paul Jenks, director of Plant Services, most of the work being done in the residence halls is catching up on deferred maintenance from times when the college budget was much tighter. The buildings have suffered from rain, snow, and hail damage over the years, and he believes that building a lasting exterior will protect the interior, hopefully deterring future problems. Work on the residence halls should be completed by August 15—before students return for fall semester.
By Elizabeth Bearden