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Sept. 8, 2010
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Summer construction work improves campus

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University had one of its most productive construction seasons on record this summer. Work got under way on the new $38-million University Union on the site of the former Dodds Hall and workers constructed new campus pedestrian ramps and walkways, laid black top, repurposed Morrow Field House racquetball courts into classrooms and continued with the Vincent Science Hall renovation.
         “Our focus is building the present and looking toward the future,” said Herb Carlson, assistant vice president for design and construction management.
            The most comprehensive project is the new University Union, which will be completed in February 2012, Carlson said.  Workers removed the old utilities on site and began grading the land for construction. An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m.
          The new union “will enable us to provide some services to students that we can’t currently provide,” Carlson said. “There will be more space for student groups to meet, more generalized lounge space and a Wi-Fi area for students to relax. The bookstore is going to be larger and have more services.”
            The new union will also include conference space, a bank, Starbucks and a Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant. “The food service is going to be very nice,” Carlson said.
            The University will convert the current union into a student services building housing academic services, financial aid, academic advising, campus police and parking services, Carlson said.
           The concrete maintenance and construction program included $250,000 of improvements. A new pedestrian walkway/handicapped ramp was constructed between Spotts World Culture and the Physical Therapy Building. Workers are in the process of building a new walkway from Building F and the Founders Bridge along Stadium Drive.  Workers also replaced the sandstone stairs in front of Carruth Rizza Hall. New blacktop was laid in front of Strain Behavioral Science Building and between Maltby Center and Rhodes Hall. Crews also sealed cracks.
            Sustainability is near the top of the list for all design projects at SRU. The University saved thousands by repurposing two field house racquetball courts into physical education classrooms seating 60 students. Workers removed the painted lines, sanded the wood and applied two coats of urethane.
       “We have a classroom specific to physical education needs that is unlike any other on campus, and the three remaining racquetball courts have been retained for students, faculty and community members who still want to play,” said Betsy McKinley, chairperson of the physical education department. A former anatomy classroom in the field house was converted into a computer lab/classroom equipped with 35 desktop computers, network wiring, data projector, air conditioning and a new ceiling. The smart building reconfiguration enabled the department to consolidate most physical education theory classes into the field house, benefiting more than 400 physical education majors.
           “What our faculty have always imagined for this program is that we could expand into the 21st century using technology in ways that we have not been able to access before, and this project permits us to provide continued state-of-the-art technology applications in addition to flexible teaching/learning facilities for our majors,” McKinley said.
            Crews also reroofed Stores Buildings 1 and 2, put in dumpster pads for the dining halls and cleaned out the Pearl K. Stoner Instructional Complex to improve air circulation, Carlson said.
          Work is under way on a bus shelter between Strain Behavioral Science Building and the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center. The shelter will incorporate a green roof covered with plants to improve aesthetics and minimize storm water runoff.
          “A large portion of the new Student Union is going to have green roofs too,” Carlson said.
          A $13.2-million renovation of Vincent Science Hall will be completed by January, in time for spring semester. “They’ve enclosed the building so that they can run up mechanical systems. They’ve installed most of the built-in furniture. Now they’re just dealing with finishes. We’re on schedule or slightly ahead of schedule,” Carlson said.
       In keeping with its commitment to sustainability, SRU utilized green-building features such as a canopy entrance and white roof to reduce energy costs and minimize environmental impact. Workers reconfigured the interior and are replacing inefficient mechanical, heating and cooling and electrical systems.
                        Students will benefit from new laboratories and equipment, a new dome in the planetarium and better technology. Two lecture halls, seating 100 students, will include new projectors, document cameras and symposiums – a digital-information sharing device that uses a pen tethered to the LCD screen. Nursing will occupy a media room with high-end technology to facilitate distance education classes.
            The majority of the new furniture is Greenguard certified. Greenguard certified means the furniture protects the health of occupants through the control of mold, moisture and indoor pollutants. The white roof will reflect solar rays, reducing the required energy for air conditioning. The canopy entrance will resist wind and water infiltration. Workers also replaced the elevator and exterior skin, Carlson said.
        The University closed Vincent two years ago for renovations to the 102,640 square foot building. Biology and the other academic departments temporarily relocated to Patterson Hall. They will move back once the work is completed.
        The University also completed the “TV Studio Production” in Maltby. Workers converted the former Career Services Office into a studio and added a new lighting grid and character generator. Cameras and lights from the former television studio in Vincent Science Hall were relocated to Maltby.
         Workers also replaced the stairwell doors at Eisenberg Classroom Building and added additional air conditioning to Maltby.       

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.