- Letters to Editor
By JACOB BLAIR
The lights are off on the top floors of Commonwealth Hall in preparation for a renovation project that will convert the space into faculty and staff offices next summer.
The $2.5 million project, intended to transform the top 10 floors of Commonwealth Hall, was submitted to the state for approval, said Barry Poynter, vice president for finance and administration. He said the renovated space will ultimately house offices for three campus entities: Human Resources, the English Language Instruction program and the E-Campus administrative offices.
The project, which is estimated to take eight to ten months, was billed as a cheaper alternative to new construction.
“It’s cost-effective for us to utilize this than try to build something,” Poynter said.
Poynter said he expects one or two of the groups moving into the offices to be able to do so within three or four months of the project’s start date in July 2014.
He said the move would allow Human Resources to be housed together on a single floor rather than in various offices scattered across campus.
Poynter said E-Campus is expected to occupy about five floors because it has outgrown its operating space in the Stratton Building.
During the renovations, students living in the building will have access to two elevators for the lowest 10 floors of the building, Poynter said. The third elevator will be accessible to employees only and will be programmed to go from the second floor, skip floors 3-10 and stop on floors 11-20.
Students will still use the front doors for the main entrance, but employees will now use the east entrance of the building. In addition, glass partitions will be erected to separate the student and employee areas on the second floor.
Student keys and fobs won’t work with employee doors, and employee keys won’t work for student doors, Poynter said.
One issue the university might face during construction is the change of ventilation and airflow if some dorm room walls are removed and the spaces are opened up.
“We’ve got to be sure that airflow is not restricted but we’re working with architects to figure that out,” Poynter said.
The university hasn’t decided what to do with the space left over from the offices that are moving to Commonwealth Hall but Poynter said the College of Justice and Safety would gain the space E-Campus has been occupying in the Stratton Building.
“I’m excited about this project,” Poynter said. “It’s going to be a neat outcome.”