While You Were Away ...
Summers are always busy for Associate Vice President for Campus Operations Ken Shultes ’89 and his crew, but this was one for the books.
From May through August, the facilities-management team worked hard—spiffing up residence halls and academic buildings, improving energy efficiency, crafting dynamic new learning and social spaces—to set an impressive stage for the 2011-12 academic year. Many of the renovations were well-timed to welcome the class of 2015.
In the trenches
If you strolled past Old West in mid-August, you noticed trenches between Althouse and Bosler halls. Workers connected Bosler’s utility infrastructure to the college’s central utility plant by installing underground water, steam and electrical conduits in the grassy area between them. [Story continues below.]
Facilities management further improved energy efficiency by replacing electrical transformers for Kisner Woodward, McKenney Suites and the Quads. The campus also saw progress in an extensive window-replacement project in Denny Hall. Most windows are now up-to-date; the majority of the remaining windows will be replaced next year.
Phase I of the Kaufman Hall renovation project is nearly complete: Kaufman now houses a five-office suite for the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) that includes a conference room, a resource library and a 10-intern workstation. “The renovations comply with LEED-certification [standards] and there’s plenty of natural lighting and room for us to grow,” said Lindsey Lyons, the college’s new assistant director of the CSE.
Kaufman also is home to a new GIS lab outfitted with six computers and all of the resources, tools and data one needs to complete a project that uses GIS technology. “This is a space where anybody can come in and work on GIS projects and learn how to use the technology,” said James Ciarrocca, GIS specialist, who has seen a growing demand on campus for access to GIS instruction and technology.
The south section of Kaufman also sports a new roof. New roofs have been installed at Buchanan and Conway halls, and at college buildings on Louther and on College streets.
Wasn’t there a staircase here?
Exciting renovations also are underway at Rubendall Recital Hall. The project, which will enhance Rubendall’s acoustics and aesthetics, is slated for completion in mid-September.
Plans are to enlarge the stage area, raise the ceiling, redesign the entrance, upgrade the sound booth and add windows narrow enough to prevent outside noise from interfering with a performance. Sound-absorbing seats will add comfort and sound quality. And, perhaps most strikingly, the staircase that formerly spiraled up from the Weiss Center lobby is now history. Its removal eliminates vibrations and other noise caused by foot traffic on the stairs.
An improved concert hall not only helps ensure an optimal experience for performers and audience members, but also is key to attracting talented students to campus, said Blanka Bednarz, associate professor and chair of music. “Rubendall is the primary musical performance space at Dickinson. We have a very strong music program, and an updated concert hall will reflect the quality of music education that [prospective students] can expect to receive here,” she said.
In addition, the entry to the Weiss Center has been re-set to correct shifting and settling issues.
Home, sweet(er) home
Last, but definitely not least, the residence halls are looking good. Students will find upgraded hallways and entranceways in Adams, Buchanan, Conway, Atwater and Armstrong. They also can kick back in a modernized lounge in Stuart Hall. There were smaller improvements to student housing all across campus, too, including fresh coats of paint on interior walls.
Looking back over an eventful season, Shultes is pleased to note that his team made great progress. “We took a bite out of our deferred-maintenance backlog, which is always one of our prime objectives,” he said.
There are more ambitious campus projects to come, driven by capital-campaign priorities that will be more clearly defined as the year progresses.
By MaryAlice Bitts Jackson
Photos by Carl Socolow '77