By Ryan Connelly
More upgrades are headed Rider’s way. Kroner Hall will be undergoing a $4.8 million renovation during the summer to finish for the 2019-20 school year.
“We are upgrading the bathrooms to individual, gender inclusive bathrooms and are doing away with the larger open bathrooms so that anyone can use the bathroom at any time,” said Michael Reca, vice president for facilities and university operations. “There will be roughly 40 of these in the building.”
Kroner isn’t the only building with plans for gender inclusive restrooms. Between other residence halls and administrative buildings there are already over 40 gender inclusive bathrooms campus-wide.
Jack Neiswenter, a sophomore business analytics major lived in Kroner Hall during the 2017-18 academic year and expressed some of his opinions on how the building could have been improved.
“Heating was uncontrollable,” said Neiswenter. “I would have to keep my window open in the winter so I wouldn’t get too hot. Air conditioning was non-existent. Anything over 80 degrees was a huge problem for the room.”
“In addition we are converting the C-wing rooms to suites,” Reca said. Every room will get a new heating and air conditioning system similar to that in Wright Hall, as well as new flooring, paint, lights and furniture. Common areas will also get new lighting, paint and carpet. Lastly we will install a similar entrance arch to Wright and put a peaked roof on the building.”
The project is said to be completed this upcoming summer, supervised by the Rider Facilities Leadership Team. The work itself will be completed by an outside licensed construction contractor.
“Having controllable air conditioning and heating is something that will give Kroner residents a much better experience,” said Neiswenter. “[Gender inclusive] bathrooms will make students feel safer while also being functional.”
In order to pay for a project at this scale, the funds will be taken from the educational facilities authority bonds that were issued in December 2017.
“The university issued tax exempt bonds, which were purchased by investors, in 2017 [to help fund renovations to Rider,]” said Chief Financial Officer James Hartman. “The investors are then paid back the principal plus interest based on an agreed-upon repayment schedule. The bonds function essentially as a loan to the university, allowing us to borrow the money to fund capital projects. Tax exempt bonds are a customary way for not-for-profit organizations like Rider to borrow money at favorable interest rates. The 2017 borrowing, which totaled $42 million, funded a number of residence hall renovations, including Kroner, as well as new and renovated academic space.”
Of that $42 million, the projects that have been funded by that bond money consist of Science and Technology Center renovations and additions, Sweigart Hall, the Bart Luedeke Center and the Yvonne Theater. The residence halls that were funded by this money are, Kroner, Wright, Ridge, Lake, Lincoln Halls and Delta Phi Epsilon. Kroner alone is getting $4.8 million of that money for all its renovations.
“The bathroom on the third floor C-wing had a bee problem,” said Neiswenter. “One morning the whole floor was covered with dead bees, because of some sort of spray. Most days, the sinks would have at least five or six. This happened for weeks if not months.”
Having individual bathrooms throughout the entirety of the building could be a factor in eliminating this problem.
“Large or small bathrooms do not matter to me personally, as long as they are clean,” said Neiswenter. “The design [needs work,]” said Neiswenter. “The C-wing first floor would have to walk upstairs or outside to access the basement.”
Although these renovations will not affect that problem directly, it may be considered in the future.
“Currently, we are finishing the patio at Sweigart, the commuter lounge upgrade is underway and should be done later this semester,” said Reca. “Also in the summer there will be another round of Science Hall renovations, and we will be renovating Cranberry’s. Lincoln Hall is slated as the next residence hall to be renovated.”