New renovations to improve campus for future

Alex Traczyk and Alex Traczyk

The University has already started its transition into its new $500 million look.

Centennial Hall and Falcon Heights were just the beginning of the campus restructuring happening until Fall 2016.

From old buildings being demolished to new buildings being constructed, the campus will have a completely different view to it.

Steve Krakoff, vice president of Capital Planning and Campus Operations, is responsible for the implementation of the Master Plan.

“The Master Plan represents the physical transformation of the University,” Krakoff said. “It was created to essentially transform the physical environment and make it one that supports teaching and learning in the best possible way.”

Buildings such as Hanna, Moseley, University and South Halls are being renovated. Renovations are also happening to north campus, which includes Eppler, Olscamp and the Business Administration buildings.

“We will be renovating the College of Health and Human Services significantly to modernize the building and prepare it for the growth that it is currently experiencing, and what we expect to continue to grow over the years,” he said.

Krakoff said old buildings that are no longer cost-effective will be demolished. West Hall and the Education Building are some of those buildings.

The campus will have a whole new look by the time Krakoff and his teams are done with their projects in what he estimated to be as long as seven years.

“The look and feel to campus will be an entirely different kind of campus than the one that alumni probably attended when they were students, but it will all be positive,” Krakoff said.

The cost for the academic core projects, the Traditions Buildings, the north academic core and the new College of Business is expected to total $200 million, Krakoff said.

“When you add Greek Housing, the College of Health and Human Services, what we plan on spending with infrastructure and landscape, it will probably bring it to $250 million, maybe even more,” he said.

The future buildings aren’t the only buildings that affect the total cost.

“When you add what has been spent during the years 2008 to 2011, with the new residence halls, dining centers, the Stroh Center and the Wolfe Center, we probably would’ve spent about half a billion dollars on the campus,” Krakoff said.

One project in particular that is being worked on is the new Greek housing that is also known as Greek Village.

Jill Carr, vice president of Student Affairs, said that it has been talked about for 25 years and this is the closest it has ever been to actually happening.

“We are in the process of hiring architects and construction people for the demolition, and our goal is to have Greek housing ready by the fall of 2016,” Carr said.

Chris Bullins, associate dean of students, is part of a leadership team for planning and implementing the new Greek housing project.

Bullins said demolition begins this upcoming summer and buildings will be constructed in 2015.

“The village will be located along Wooster on the current site where Conklin East and West and old Fraternity Row is now located,” he said.

Bullins said they are going off of what current Greek life students and alumni said they wanted and what they feel would benefit all students involved.

“When we visited other campuses that have built new Greek housing within the last 10 years, they talked about a correlation to the new project and saw an increase in the number of students that went Greek,” Bullins said. “We’re estimating the project could cost approximately $30 million to build.”

Sophomore Mackenzie Bowen, who is the current president of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, said she and her sisters are the last group living in the house on campus.

“There are so many memories in the house with it being 70 years old. Seventy pledge classes went through it, so it definitely will be different,” Bowen said. “But the houses are very old, pipes and stuff break all the time.”

Bowen said that they were beginning to pack up things and sell them in order to raise money for the new houses.

With the Greek Village project underway, some people fear that it may hurt recruitment, but Bowen doesn’t agree.

“You’re joining the girls for the experiences, our values, and what we stand for, whether that’s in a house or not,” Bowen said.

In coming years the University will have a different, more modernized look to it.

“I think it’s an exciting time for [the University], I think this is indicative of the vision that is being provided by the [University President Mary Ellen Mazey] and the [Board of Trustees], that they are committed to seeing it get implemented,” Krakoff said. “I think the students at [the University] will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this as the years go by.”