By Austin Boland-Ferguson
This past summer, Rider University gave itself a structural facelift on buildings throughout campus.
With the makeover of the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) headlining the changes, multiple dorm buildings and one academic building underwent renovations throughout the summer season on the Lawrenceville campus.
The most noticeable change to the BLC has been the removal of the concrete steps in front of the building, which, according to Rider University, was a needed repair due to water infiltration.
There is a slew of planned changes to the BLC that have yet to be finished, most notably the walkway leading to the second-floor entrance.
The walkway, like the former staircases, will be made out of concrete. The railings will be made out of glass.
Michael Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations, has been keeping up with progress to the BLC.
“The new facade, the new canopy and the new plaza are underway right now,” Reca said. “And will be done in the near future.”
Future changes are also planned for the BLC and are focused on “keeping that area an exciting place for students,” Reca said.
One of these changes includes a 12-by-20 foot video screen, which Reca said could be used “to display school information, access television or to broadcast if a [Rider] sports team is playing a big game.”
There are also plans to install a new bench in front of the BLC, Reca said. He added that the bench will be accompanied by a famous face in Rider history.
“A bronze sculpture of Andrew J. Rider will be sitting on the bench,” Reca said. “This will make a great photo opportunity with the namesake of the school.”
Some interior changes are also in the works, with planned renovations to both stairways and lighting.
The construction in the BLC created a challenge for the orientation staff. Figuring out how to run their orientation activities while working around the blockaded front entrance and stairways was a challenging task.
Associate dean of freshmen, Ira Mayo, encountered these obstacles alongside the orientation staff.
“Usually when we did orientation, the table to check in was pretty obvious,” Mayo said. “The biggest challenge was making it clear where you were checking in.”
Mayo gave thanks to the rest of orientation staff for being able to work around the challenges of construction.
“I have to give a lot of credit to [Director of Transition Programs] Christine Mehlhorn and to the orientation leaders,” Mayo said, “They powered through this.”
Sophomore political science major and orientation leader Rhea Fryer, along with the other orientation leaders, was able to find her way around the lack of a front entrance to the building.
Fryer said the orientation leaders “relied heavily on elevators and the patio stairway to get students and their families where they needed to go.”
Orientation staff integrated the ongoing renovations into their programs for new students and their families visiting the university.
“Orientation staff made a video that had [senior history major and orientation leader Doug Martinson] and I explaining all of the exciting things that were coming to campus,” Fryer said. “We had shown the video at the start of each orientation and made the video open for viewing online.”
Mayo noted that in order to work around the renovations, it took careful thinking to keep operations smooth during orientation.
“Christine [Mehlhorn] was mostly responsible for the check-in plan,” Mayo said. “We got tents, and we checked in outside of the SRC.”
The orientation staff found the new check-in location was a more appealing long-term option.
“We found it was a neat way to do it,” Mayo said. “It was outside, it was fun, it was pleasant.”
Mayo and the orientation staff saw the construction as a good opportunity to get some exercise.
“If you had a FitBit, you were most definitely getting your 10,000 steps in,” he said.
Published in 09/05/18 edition.