Many buildings to be renovated in coming years

Kendra Clark and Kendra Clark

Coming to the University may be a big change for some students and will continue to shape them throughout their years here.

However, they may come to find the buildings in their campus will be changing along with them, which is spelled out in the University’s Master Plan.

The Master Plan is the “roadmap” for physical improvements to the University, according to Vice President of Capital Planning and Campus Operations Steve Krakoff.

“It lays out the projects and costs that will transform the University for many years,” Krakoff said.

Over the next four years the incoming freshmen will see many buildings renovated or torn down and departments relocated.

“In either [the freshmen’s] first or second year, there will be a renovation in Eppler,” Krakoff said. “They will also see a modernization at Olscamp and we plan to continually upgrade the campus landscape.”

Sustainability Coordinator Nicholas Hennessy and Assistant Vice President of Campus Operations Bruce Meyer said an important part of the Master Plan is sustainability.

“Sustainability is such a part of the Master Plan, it’s hard to separate the two,” Hennessy said. “One reason is we are doing our best to comply with the President’s Climate Commitment in October 2012.”

The University has committed to becoming a “carbon neutral” campus in the future, which necessitates reducing waste and emissions and constructing environmentally-friendly buildings, Hennessy wrote in an email.

As buildings start to get planned out, the University looks into opportunities to integrate sustainability and regard the future, Meyer said.

“Remember, we will be reviewing existing infrastructures on campus,” he said. “Many of the structures are 60 plus years old. We are updating them to modern features to make them more efficient.”

Hennessy said students returning and coming for the first time will all notice the sustainable changes to the Student Recreation Center.

“They will no doubt see the number of sustainability features in it,” Hennessy said. “There is recycling, water bottle refill stations at every water fountain, LED lighting and energy-producing cardio equipment.”

To help with the Master Plan, Chief Financial Officer Sherideen Stoll manages the finances.

“The goal for the Master Plan is to put together a comprehensive guide of the next seven to 10 years,” Stoll said. “It can get very complex, moving people from one building to another, especially if that’s not where they will be staying permanently.”

To pay for the construction, the majority of the money comes from debt the University takes out, Stoll said.

“It’s like mortgage for a home, but for a University. We will pay back the debt over time,” Stoll said. “We are also expecting some funding from private donors, alumni and friends of the University.”

According to an email from Stoll, the approximate total the University will spend on the Master Plan until about 2020 will be $200,000,000. See a breakdown in the factbox.

In order to pay back the debt, the University will take money from the tuition they collect from students, Stoll said.

Stoll asks students to remain positive, even though they understand construction can be an inconvenience.

“If we can keep focused on the positive once it’s completed, the noise and dust might be a little more palatable,” she said.

Krakoff believes the changes will greatly benefit the students.

“When they graduate, hopefully it has been a substantial difference from when they started,” Krakoff said. “It’s a great time to be a student at BGSU.”