Upcoming Construction On Campus Explained

Posted on February 16, 2012 by

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By Erika Anderson

By this time next year there will be a steady flow of construction on the Worcester State University campus.  Nothing is completely set in stone yet, but there are plans for a new Athletic and Wellness building, a campus greening project, re-facing of the Library, a new dorm building, and lastly there is the potential of a new parking garage.  Needless to say the next few years here are going to be busy.

In 2006, Worcester State first started to think about the idea of making a new Athletic and Wellness Building said WSU President Barry Maloney. These sorts of projects take time; a college does not just decide one night to build something the next day.  It takes years to plan out every big and small detail that must be looked at.  The projected date for the opening of the new Athletic and Wellness building is the fall of 2015.  The old athletic building will be completely torn down and the new building will be built in its place.  It is projected to have two basketball courts; one varsity gym and one gym for practices, intramural sports, and public use.  Around the varsity court there will be a walking track and seating will increase to about 2,000.  The new gym will be “the whole magilla,” said  Maloney.  Never again will there be people standing around the entrance wishing for a seat.  There will also be empty studio classrooms for fitness classes (or any other classes that need a space) and a café like the Java Junction in Waslyean Hall.

The tough part about this specific new building being constructed is the fact that many offices are there that will be destroyed once construction starts. Maloney said that to deal with this problem there will be a “floating village” of trailers located in the square of staff parking between the Sullivan building and the Learning Resources Center.  Do not forget about the many sports teams that use the gym building for practices and games.  Currently there is no solution to this other problem but most likely varsity games and practices will be held at a neighboring college.

The greening project mentioned above is still in its early “green” stages the president said.  The basic idea is to have a grassy area with benches and picnic tables where the students can sit and relax.  A few possibilities are to have the grass extend from the existing pond all the way up to the library.  This would take away a considerable amount of parking, but at the same time it would “provide extra safety,” said Maloney, for everyone walking on campus because instead of walking through the parking lots and crosswalks that no one seems to notice,  they will walk through the grassy campus park area.  Although nothing is set in stone this greenery project could be a really nice addition to the campus, especially during the summer where it could be a place to hold events for students.

This March through December of next year, WSU will start the list of projects with the Library update added President Maloney. The plan is to fix the water leak in the Library that has been going on for a while now and to also give the library a more inviting look.  The stairway will be updated, and the cement walls will be torn down and replaced with an ivy lattice along the opening of the library.  The school also plans on residing the library; making it a brighter cream color.

There may be some concern about the hours of the library and whether or not it will be open or have long enough hours, especially during finals.  Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Lee Ann Scales, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing, said that the library “won’t be offline” and that most of the construction will be “behind the scenes work.”

There has also been talk about a new dorm building for 2015 that would add 300-400 beds.  President Maloney said that “this is not about adding students; it’s purely about serving the existing demand.”  Because of the new dorm and greater demand there would be a new cafeteria built in it that would be for all on campus students.  The old cafeteria will be repurposed for something else.  This new dorm will be situated between Dowden and the sports field and will be built into the hillside so students will have a great view of the fields below.  With the creation of this new dorm there will also be evening out of the tuition fees for each dorm building.  There will no longer be an expensive and cheap dorm; they will all be around the same price.  Though this may not happen right away, there are also thoughts on off campus housing for students, but that will be later down the road.

And of course, one of the biggest problems on campus, parking, will hopefully be fixed.  There is a lot of talk about what exactly to do; new garage or satellite parking, or maybe both?  With all the new buildings being put on campus and the construction going on the school is going to have to find 600-1,000 spaces elsewhere for student and faculty parking.  The idea of a new garage on campus, most likely near the sports fields, is a good but will not happen right away and will not help the problem of where to park for students on campus now.  President Maloney is currently “talking to the general community” and “exploring as many options as possible.”  There are no firm plans as to what or where student and faculty will park, but they are working on finding places.

Overall there is a lot going on in the next few years, but do not worry too much about it because the school has all the bases covered.  WSU has the money to pay for the projects and plenty of new ideas to deal with the parking problems now and to come.  For more information visit http://worcester.edu/NewsnMedia/default.aspx, under the “Current News” tab.

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