By Stephen Townes
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY- Piles of dirt and gravel, bulldozers, orange cones, and well, more dirt. That is the scenery at Lincoln University.
From the looks of it, Lincoln University may not exactly scream academia right now, however the construction is part of a $350 million plan to revamp the campus, a plan that promises future Lincoln attendees nothing less than a modern, state of the art university.
According to John Thompson, Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Construction Projects, the reconstruction currently consists of eight separate projects: roof upgrades, a total renovation of Grim Hall, a total renovation of Wright Hall, parking lot expansion of the ICC building, a total renovation of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library, landscaping, a Wellness Center, and the construction of various athletics fields/courts.
Currently the renovation projects to Grim Hall and the Langston Hughes Memorial Library are near completion, and according to Thompson the only thing left to do is install information technology equipment (computers, smartboards, projectors, etc.). “The buildings should be open to students within the next couple of weeks,” Thompson said.
According to Steve Carol, Chief Information Systems Technology Officer, the library will include an after hours study complex, and slightly less than 200 computers.
The renovation project to Wright Hall is tentatively scheduled to be completed in October, and will include a 45-seat planetarium. “This is a totally new feature for Lincoln students,” Thompson said.
Lincoln University is also welcoming the addition of a Wellness Center building, which will be located behind the physical plant at the south end of campus, and is scheduled for completion on Dec. 27, 2012. The first floor will include: a lobby with a rock climbing wall, a 165-seat lecture hall, several classrooms, a dining area, a gymnasium, exercise room, dance room, aerobics room, and locker rooms.
The second floor of the Wellness center will feature a three-lane circular walking/jogging track that will be equal to one tenth of a mile. Additionally, the second floor will include two exercise rooms and three labs.
The Wellness Center will also include a Health Services suite with overnight accommodations for contagious illnesses. Just outside of the Wellness Center is a pond, which faculty plan to use as a tool to study environmental science. “The overall goal of the Wellness Center is to promote healthy living habits,” Thompson said.
The Athletics Department will be adding new football stadium encompassed by an outside track, and complete with 2,500-seat bleachers. “The unique thing about the football stadium is that as students walk under the tunnel at the LLC building, it will lead to the entrance of the stadium,” Thompson said
Furthermore, Lincoln University will be adding a new baseball and softball field, located at the west end of campus, behind the football stadium. Additionally, construction workers are working hard to add five new tennis courts behind the Ivory V. Nelson Center for the Sciences, and a practice field located at south end of campus.
The landscaping project includes, new sidewalks, parking lots, and pavements, which will make Lincoln more pedestrian friendly. “The goal of this project is to restore beauty back to Lincoln,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson the roof upgrade project includes the upgrading the roofs of several buildings around campus, and the ICC project includes adding additional parking space for the building, as well as the restoration and beautification of the patio and front of the building. Both expected completion dates are yet to be determined.
In the future Lincoln plans to renovate Dickey Hall. The project is scheduled to start in August 2013 and finish in November 2014.
Thompson added that there is a study currently being conducted to add an additional dorm. “I always invite students to be a part of the design in this sort of thing. I think it’s important to get the students vision of what makes life away from home comfortable,” Thompson said.