The construction of the Schmidt/Wilson Halls are nearing completion as construction workers bring in the remaining furniture to have it prepared for incoming students in the 2017-18 academic year.
Johnson B complex nearing completion for fall residents
Construction is done and now it's time to move in – the furniture that is.
The Schmidt/Wilson halls in the Johnson West Complex is in the final stages of completion as Housing and Residence Life prepares for students to move-in come fall.
The complex is the new home for the Theatre, Design and Dance Living Learning Communities and features a main stage in the lobby, a dance studio, sound-proof studios, design studios, a blackbox theatre and more.
"With the theatre and dance students being in here, they need to have dedicated facilities because they actually need the space to do some of those things," assistance director of communications and technology for Housing and Residence Life, Chris Wilkey said. "If students need those facilities, they can be right where they're going to be living in."
While the renovation of the building took over two years, Wilkey hopes people notice the amount of small details put into the complex.
From the revolving doors made to save energy in the front to the hardwood floors in the dorms to make it feel more like home.
"The stuff that went into this one began about 5 years ago when they originally started planning the renovations," Wilkey said. "It may seem like it got torn down and went up really quick, but the planning and thought process behind it took years."
Wilkey gives a lot of the credit to Alan Hargrave, the director for Housing and Residence Life, who is already looking at the future projects on the north end of campus.
These projects include the complete demolition of LaFollette Complex and the addition of 2-3 more residence halls along with a new dining facility and office spaces where LaFollette and both Johnson Complex's currently stand.
With the completion of Johnson B and the continued demolition of the Mysch/Hurst and Woody/Shales halls of the LaFollette, the university one step closer to its goals outlined in the "Enhance North Residential" portion of the Campus Master Plan.
The goal of the various renovations is to "facilitate a close-knit community," according to the Campus Master Plan, or as Wilkey puts it, the creation of "a northern Village at Ball State."
"With this building [Johnson B] here, it gives us the bed space to put in new students and allows us to start working on the demolition of LaFollette," Wilkey said. "Over the next 3-5 years, they're going to be building a dedicated dining facility."
That dining facility is meant to be built along with a new residence hall where LaFollette currently stands. Within that building, there are plans to put offices and other spaces, but it's not to be mistaken for a student center, according to Wilkey, it's just made to serve as a "vocal point of the northern side of campus."
For now, Housing and Residence Life is preparing for students to fill dorms in the fall, with several sections of LaFollette remaining untouched for the upcoming academic year.