The Johnson A complex, first completed in 1969, undergoes construction to be reopened in fall 2016. The Schmidt/Wilson halls will be home to the Theatre and Dance-Learning Community. Reagan Allen // DN
Campus construction work on schedule, some parts almost complete
Upon moving in, students are given a roommate agreement to establish boundaries in their dorm. However, one thing wasn't up for contention this year — construction.
Campus renovations are essential in keeping the campus updated and accommodating the changing needs of students, said Jim Lowe, the associate vice president for facilities planning and management. While Lowe acknowledged the inconveniences construction can pose to students, he pointed out that isn't an ideal time to fit construction into the calendar year.
Most students leave campus in May, which would leave around two months for contractors to complete any and all projects on campus — it's just not realistic, Lowe said.
Ongoing projects like Schmidt/Wilson (Johnson B), John R. Emens Auditorium, the College of Health and the site landscape development between the Teachers College and the Applied Technology Building are all on schedule. In fact, Lowe said, the site landscape development is scheduled to be completed within the next two weeks.
The project came about in order to provide students with another place to socialize on campus.
"The ideal being with that project is we connect Applied Technology and Teachers College in terms of a social activity," Lowe said. "What we're trying to do is invite more of a social activity on campus that doesn't exist today."
While construction provides challenges for students — such as foot traffic, sidewalk closings and detours — the outcomes outweigh the inconvenience, Lowe said. The benefits of these projects will not only allow students to live on campus more comfortably, but they will also encourage community members to visit campus more often. Lowe said he also hoped the new projects and improvements will help instill pride in Ball State students.
"What we do on campus with our renovation work, with our site plans, with our info structure work is to better everybody on campus, not just a few," Lowe said.
While the purpose of renovations is to improve conditions on campus, there are still repercussions. Tyler Fisher, a sophomore sports administration major who lives in Botsford/Swinford, said he's not bothered by the construction on campus, but does see why some students might complain about being affected by the construction work.
"It hasn't really affected me too much because I don't have a car," Fisher said. "But if I did have a car, it would be kind of a pain a little bit because there is so much construction out here."
Rachel Smith, a junior economics major, said she lives off campus and occasionally finds herself having to avoid construction on her drive to class, especially when driving along Riverside Avenue.
"Obviously there's a lot going on [on Riverside Avenue] with all the construction work," Smith said. "Every once in a while, there will be someone who tries to turn into Emens or someone the drivers will have a second to wait because of construction equipment moving. But when I'm walking on the campus, it really isn't bad at all."
However, Smith said, the hindrance is nothing to complain about.
"The improvements are going to look great, and I'm really excited to see how it all looks," Smith said. "Heck, I would even consider moving back into one of the new dorms if I had the chance."
As 2017 draws nearer, students should anticipate projects such as Schmidt/Wilson and Emens Auditorium to be completed, Lowe said. The College of Health is anticipated to break ground in June 2017.