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Summer construction

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College’s future Center for Science and Business has already grabbed a lot of headlines, and it will create more now that the construction process is under way on the southwest corner of campus.

As President Mauri Ditzler wrote in a recent message to the college community, “Big pieces of yellow iron and the construction they support will be a part of our lives for the next two years.”

But the early rumblings of the $40 million project don’t represent the only physical changes that have occurred on Monmouth College property during the summer months. Several other projects have been completed or should be finished by the time classes begin on Aug. 23.

The buildings along North 11th Street that were previously used by MC’s physical plant operations have been demolished, making room for a 100-car parking lot on that site.

“We anticipate that it will be used by first- and second-year students living in the dorms along North 9th Street,” said Ditzler. “That will free up the Euclid Lot for students living in the newer dorms along North 6th Street who will be displaced by construction of the Center for Science and Business.”

Dirt was also moved on the Wallace Hall lawn, making room for an outdoor classroom. The gift of the Class of 2011, the 20- by 35-foot area will be paved in brick and enclosed on three sides by granite boulders and azalea bushes. Some of the pavers will be personalized with the names of donors from the class. In addition to being used as a teaching space, the college anticipates that small gatherings will be hosted on the site, and the Chamber Orchestra will perform there during commencement ceremonies.

Fire prevention sprinklers have been added to several dormitories, and Ditzler said the college is on track to have this “multi-year project” completed in advance of the deadline mandated by the State of Illinois.

In a related project, inefficient single-pane windows in Cleland Hall have been replaced.

“That project had been held up for several years by code requirements that called for the building to have sprinklers before changes could be made to the windows,” Ditzler explained.

Several staff members working in Poling Hall will have new locations within the building. The financial aid office will move from the first floor to the lower level, providing greater privacy for families discussing financial needs. The Wackerle Career and Leadership Center will move from the second floor to the former financial aid office, taking advantage of the same greater visibility that was often problematic for financial aid. Taking over the Wackerle space will be a second location for MC’s student support services. That department will also maintain its presence in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center.

The house previously used by Phi Delta Theta in the 100 block of South 8th Street has been demolished. The men of Phi Delt are moving to the space in the fraternity complex that was used last fall by the women of Alpha Xi Delta.

Several campus locations will undergo changes to accommodate the Center for Science and Business. One of the most notable changes is removal of the street in the 700 block of East Archer Avenue. That will cause the 100 block of North 7th Street to become a two-way street, with the parking lot adjacent to Poling Hall receiving an additional entrance to accommodate the new traffic flow.

The annex on the back of the Admission Building was demolished in July, as was an adjacent metal storage building.

“With the changes to the Admission Building, we have moved our development office staff several blocks north of campus (to the former Kmart building at the corner of 6th Street and Route 34),” said Ditzler. “The development office will share that building with our physical plant personnel for several years or more as we work through a series of construction projects on campus.”

An open house will be held at the new development office on Aug. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The basement of Marshall Hall at the corner of East Broadway and North 7th Street has become the temporary offices of Pepper Construction (the building contractor), a move that eliminates having a construction trailer parked on campus.

Finally, excavation for the center has eliminated the sidewalks on what was formerly East Archer Avenue.

“It is our target to have created a temporary walkway by the opening of classes that will allow direct transit from Wallace Hall and Poling Hall to Bowers Hall and Peterson Hall,” said Ditzler.