"Oh my gosh! There are no words to describe it except to say, 'I just can't wait!' " Catawba College rising senior Emily Wonderly of Hicksville, Ohio said after she toured one of the five new residence halls now under construction on campus. Wonderly was one of dozens of students on campus who took advantage of a brief, two-hour open house organized in one of the two B-building residence halls by Catawba College Facilities
Director Henry Haywood.
"This open house is really for the students to give them a chance to see the buildings before they go home for the summer," Haywood explained.
Wonderly and one of her suitemates, rising senior Sarah Reeves of Pilot Mountain, were among 126 upper-class students who signed up earlier in April to live in the new residence halls next year. Space in the halls was at a premium, said Dean of Students Dan Sullivan, and some students had to be turned away. Earlier in the year, college officials decided not to charge a price differential for living in these halls, but rather to limit access to them to upper-class students.
"Sign ups were the week after Easter," Sullivan explained, "and we took requests from seniors who would be living with seniors next year first, followed by seniors who would be living with juniors."
"It feels more like you're on your own, living in your own apartment," Reeves said, adding that she really liked the well-lit, common study area located on the second and third floors of the B-buildings.
Reeves did question the lack of one feature in the bedrooms — closets. "I just wonder where the closets are," she mused before her question was answered by Haywood.
"Each room will have a wardrobe per student," he explained, noting, "we've also ordered beds with two drawers of additional storage beneath them." Adding closets to the various rooms would have permanently restricted how furniture could be arranged in the space, he continued. "We know from experience that students want to move and rearrange the furniture."
"I don't need a couch after all," Stencil Robinson told his roommate, fellow rising senior Thomas Pressley. "I didn't realize everything was going to be furnished."
Haywood says project general contractor, Summit Development of Salisbury, continues to keep the construction on a strict timeline, with all five residence halls ready for occupancy in August.
"We chose to use one of the two B-buildings for this open house because it was a little further along than the three A-buildings," Haywood said. "The B-buildings have two kitchens that will be shared by residents on all three floors, while the A-buildings have a kitchen per apartment."
All five buildings will be handicap accessible on each first floor level, and all five will be sprinkled.
A courtyard of brick pavers will be constructed between the two B-buildings, while common landscaping and walkways between the A and B-buildings will tie the halls together into Abernethy Village.
New 'smart card' technology will be used in the new residence halls and the other halls on-campus, replacing the current swipe card method used to control access to buildings.
"The smart card technology is something we're excited about," Sullivan explained. "It's tied into our new identification system and will use cards with chips that you flash instead of swipe."
Environmental abatement has now been completed in the now unoccupied Corriher-Linn-Black Library and contractors are working on finishing new walls that have been installed in the library.
The Salisbury architectural firm of Ramsey, Burgin and Smith Architects, Inc. has oversight for these renovations which capitalize on existing tall ceilings, large windows and spacious public spaces. Haywood said the library renovation remains "on schedule" with staff and collections scheduled to move back into the facility over Christmas holidays of the '07-'08 academic year.
Currently, the staff and resources of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library are temporarily relocated to the second floor of Hoke Hall and four mobile units are on campus behind Hoke Hall to house library collections during the renovation period.
The Cannon Student Center
A renovation of the Cannon Student Center and construction of a 7,000 square foot addition to it are scheduled to begin in May. College administrators are working with the Winston-Salem architect Larry Robb and the project manager, Knoxville, Tennessee-based Lawler Woods to add finishing touches to plans.
The main level of the building will be renovated space and will come off-line in mid-May so renovations can begin. The Hurley Room, a popular meeting space on campus, will remain off-line through the renovation and construction of the new addition; it is being relocated in the new addition and will overlook the Shuford Stadium and the Hurley Press Box.
Included in the renovation is reconfigured office space for Student Affairs, including counseling, testing and student government space on the south end of the Cannon Student Center. Leonard Lounge, located in the center of the building, will be renovated, and the bookstore will be expanded and renovated.
The campus post office, already temporarily relocated in a mobile unit, will be housed in the new addition which will come off the west side of the building. It will be joined by a fitness center with an aerobics space, the Hurley Room, an executive dining area, and a small kitchenette.
Catawba's food service provider, Chartwells, a division of Compass, Inc., is now working with Larry Robb, the architect for the student center, to come up with a new design and layout for McCorkles', the snack bar on the main level, and to reconfigure the layout in the dining hall on the lower level of the building.
Work on the addition will begin in mid-summer and is expected to be completed less than a year later.