A season of renovations is dawning on the Troy campus.
According to university administrators, Stewart Hall, the former dining hall, is already undergoing remodeling. The MSCX building will be experiencing refurbishment by December, while the Adams Administration Building will also be getting a face-lift. Sartain Hall will be demolished for the construction of the new student recreation center, and the north end zone of Veterans Memorial Stadium is expecting a new football facility.
According to John Dew, senior vice chancellor of student services and administration, Stewart Hall will be used for academic purposes as well as for artistic displays.
The building will house computer labs for the graphic design department and will have space for the exhibition of student artworks.
“I think we will also have some display of art from artists who have donated their work to the university,” Dew said.
Artist Fred “Nall” Hollis, who has donated several of his works to the university, will be one of the featured artists.
Dew also said that the Chinese sculptor Hou Baozhu, who contributed “The Thinker” replica statue to Troy in 2008, will be providing around 200 reproductions of the terracotta warriors. Terracotta is clay-based ceramic and the warriors refer to the collection of sculptures from 200 B.C. found in the Xian region of China
“So it will be probably be the only large display of terracotta warrior art in the United States,” Dew said. “I think it will become quite a tourist attraction.”
According to Bill Grantham, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Sorrell wing of the MSCX building, which houses the political science, computer science, social science and mathematics departments, will be repaired at the end of this semester.
“We are looking at an upgrade on the heating and air conditioning system, new windows, new floorings, new paint, and we are renovating the electrical system and the air circulation system,” Grantham said.
Some science labs in the building are also expected to be renovated.
Steven Taylor, chair of the political science department, has been located at MSCX since 1999. He said that he looks at the renovations as a positive and much-needed change.
“We need better space, and certainly the rooms do not compare favorably to other parts of campus at this point,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that the heating, venting and cooling system is terrible in the building.
“It frequently dies when it’s very hot outside and makes teaching and learning in the building difficult,” he said. “It is also my understanding that there is asbestos that needs to be abated from this wing of the building.
“It’s a step in the right direction for the needs of the college and needs just for students’ comfort.”
The current offices in the Sorrell wing will be relocated to different buildings like McCartha, Bibb Graves, Wallace and Hawkins halls.
Renovations are expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
Grantham also mentioned that the College of Arts and Sciences is waiting on approval for a new program.
“We are looking at developing a new program, electrical engineering technology, which will be a part of the physics and chemistry department that may have some new labs located in that (McCall) wing of the building,” he said.
Adams Administration Hall
The side of the building nearest to University Avenue will also be expanded, potentially before the end of the spring 2016 semester.
“It’s an extension,” Dew said. “It will be kind of a ‘T’ at the end of the building.”
Dew said that the primary purpose of this construction is to create a better venue for families who are visiting the campus and to construct an edifice that matches the exterior beauty of the neighboring Long Hall and the Trojan Dining Hall.
“So there will be improved parking for visitors,” he said. “There will be a more spacious entrance way with better rooms for families to be with admission counselors and so forth.”
Dew said he hopes that the construction in the area does not block off University Avenue and obstruct traffic flow.
“It’s possible that there may be a few days when they are putting up steel, that it may cause us to temporarily close off the area,” he said. “We wouldn’t be surprised if we had to close off the sidewalk on this side (on University Avenue in front of Adams).”
While the renovations go on, the admissions office will be moved to the first floor of the Trojan Center next to the food courts.
Although the demolition of Sartain Hall was expected to start early in the spring semester, there will be a delay on the project.
“As of conversations of today (Nov. 3), I do not think we will start demolishing Sartain (until) late in the spring semester,” Dew said. “It might even be May or June.
“It will depend on how many iterations we go through on the design, but once we start, it will go pretty quickly.”
The area will be used for the construction of a new recreation center. Suggestions for features of the facility were collected from students in September.
North End Zone Project
The facility will be designed to connect the east and west sides of the football stadium with features such as new locker rooms, equipment rooms, a recruiting lounge, a Hall of Fame area and team meeting areas.
“We are still in the process of defining exactly what the content of the building will be — the size and the features and so forth,” Dew said.
He said that a draft of the proposed structure has gone through first review and the administration has made a statement about what features should be included.
Dew cautioned that these processes take time and the university has yet to select an architect to begin design.
Dew also mentioned that the administration is looking into improving parking on campus.
“I would want students to all be aware that we are sensitive to the parking situation, and that we are busting at the seams,” he said.
Dew said that he was pleased to see the proposals brought forward by the Student Government Association on where additional parking might be placed.
“I think students have made some very good suggestions, very practical suggestions,” he said.
Dew said that the administration has met to discuss how parking will be accommodated if enrollment continues to grow in fall 2016. He also said that once various construction projects begin, the university will further look to see “just how pinched we are on the parking front.”
Dew also wished to inform students that McKinley Drive, by the golf course, will be expanded into three lanes.
“There will be additional remote parking added (there) as well,” he said.
He also said that once the student recreation center is built, more space will be freed up in the Trojan Center where currently the student gym and game room are situated.
“We really need more table space for people to be able to eat lunch over there during the peak rush hours,” he said. “We probably need space for at least one more restaurant. So if we can carve more space for dining on that side of the campus, that would be a really good thing.”
Although multiple projects are being undertaken, Dew said that the university has been fortunate enough to sustain a lot of simultaneous construction in the past and hopes for the same now, too, though he acknowledged that it will be hectic.
In May, a $100 increase in general fees starting fall 2016 was announced for the funding of the new recreation center.
When asked if students should expect more rise in tuition or general fees to accommodate the budget for these other projects, Dew said, “There is no discussion of increasing general fees for students to pay for these other activities.”