Students returned to some nice
surprises on North Manchester campus
More than $1 million in improvements awaited Manchester University students in North Manchester when they returned for classes on Aug. 28.
Nearly every corner of the 100-acre campus received a makeover, from a new café study lounge in Funderburg Library and a knee-friendly gym floor to extensive renovations to East Street Apartments and new HVAC chillers.
A $240,000 remodeling of Funderburg Library into an exciting new kind of information center is probably generating the most buzz with students. The interior redesign is creating many comfortable places and spaces to learn, collaborate and just chill with friends and faculty, said Library Director Jill Lichtsinn.
“We have a virtual library online, so the remodel was a great opportunity to use more of the physical space for the students,” said Lichtsinn. "Wi-Fi is throughout the library. On the main level, we are opening up more room for collaborative study areas. The computer lab now is in the lower level, opening wonderful space upstairs for an after-hours area that will include a café."
On the lower level, a new technology lab provides 30 desktop computers, with space for 20 laptops that can be reserved by instructors for larger classes. Students may check out unreserved laptops (preloaded with MU software) for overnight loans.
Funderburg Library is intent on giving students optimal learning experiences, said Lichtsinn. “We are open to student feedback,” she said. “We will experiment with what works and make changes as necessary.”
The ultimate goal in the library is to bring information technology and library personnel together. “The library and ITS are about gathering information,” said Chris Garber, project manager and MU director of operations. “Our long-term vision is to combine them in the building as a data source.”
In other major renovations, East Street Apartments underwent a $350,000 exterior and interior makeover. Outside repair work included the roof, siding, back deck, porch and front step. Interior work focused on the living space: new carpet, paint, showers and countertops in each apartment. A new fire alarm system completes the package in the apartments for upper-class students.
Over at the Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC), the gym floor now has shock absorbers – really! The new floor of the Stauffer-Wolfe Arena is constructed of special knee-friendly material sure to please basketball players, especially.
"The new floor has more bounce to it, and we hope this lessens the impact that our players experience,” said Erin Foreman, head athletic trainer and an assistant professor of exercise and sport sciences.
Another major project is a new $300,000 water chiller. Manchester’s cooling system relies on water chillers that circulate 55-degree water to most buildings on campus. The purchase allows Manchester to retire a 1976 chiller.
Throughout the summer, Manchester focused on minimizing its environmental footprint. “We did everything possible to be conscious stewards of our resources,” said Lichtsinn.