By now most people have realized there are some changes coming to Shippensburg University. While inconvenient, the redirections of foot traffic are necessary in order to allow work crews enough distance to maneuver and operate safely, said Lance Bryson, the associate vice president of facilities management and planning.
But, could they not wait just a few more weeks?
“In order to finish the jobs on time for the fall semester it was necessary to begin the projects around campus earlier,” Bryson said. The construction was scheduled strategically around the beginning of the fall semester which has a higher enrollment and because of the colder weather in October when the heating system turns on.
Bryson explained that the strategy for timing focused on minimizing student impact, but not all inconveniences could be avoided. For example, Kriner had to be shut down during the spring semester in order to complete the construction by August, when it will reopen before the fall semester.
The new and localized natural gas-powered heating plants around campus are on track to be completed before they are needed this fall. Working with the department of general services, SU will save money both in regulation standards and in the actual production of heat.
Although economics drove this decision, the 40 percent reduction of carbon footprint is a positive impact of the modernization.
The second phase of the construction project for campus housing is on track or slightly ahead of schedule for the fall 2014 opening dates.
“We plan to have at least one residence hall open for early arrival,” Bryson said. Because of the work progressing quicker than scheduled, all three new halls, McCune, Lackhove and Kieffer, may be open for early arrival.
Although not on campus property, the Cumberland Valley Rails to Trails system is also planning on starting an improvement project in the fall. This will pave the path adjacent to campus from Fogelsanger Road past Prince Street and ending at Earl Street. Included in this project is a footbridge that will connect the trail from campus to Britton Park.
The extensive construction and maintenance projects that are underway currently will provide a strong infrastructure for SU for many years to come.
“This is a temporary inconvenience for a positive change. We have to get our minds working downstream to see that this will provide for Shippensburg’s future,” Bryson said.
SU will look like a new and modern campus that has some of the youngest and best buildings in all of the PASSHE system in four years time, Bryson said.
After the heating and cooling projects are completed and the residence halls are occupied, there are plans for a telecommunications project that would update the Internet and electronics systems on campus. Following those projects will be the roads and the rest of the buildings.
“The facilities staff is here because they want to work here,” Bryson said. “They all work for the students and are proud of the university. There’s nothing else that would keep them here in the middle of the night plowing snow in the cold of winter. We are all are serving the needs of the university and want to provide the platform for the education of young people.”
If there are any safety concerns regarding campus construction or other problems, please call SU Police at (717) 477-7447.