Hammers, Holes and Hard Hats

By Katie Zeck

Over the summer a 7,000-square-foot open-floor multi-sport indoor facility to be used for indoor batting, and as a practice area, was built by the baseball fields

Students who were on campus at any point this summer likely witnessed some of the side effects of this year’s campus construction projects: huge, gaping holes in the ground next to Sweigart and Memorial halls, tall cranes in the parking lots and the closing of Memorial Hall.

The clearing of the land where the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center will be built on the Westminster campus

This year’s to-do list included the installation of a new Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system in Memorial Hall, the start of the Tri-Generation plant project, the creation of a new multi-sport indoor facility at the back of campus, the addition of a new emergency generator for Daly’s, and the beginnings of construction on Westminster Choir College (WCC)’s new academic building.

“There have also been the usual painting and repair of spaces throughout campus in preparation for the fall semester,” said Mike Reca, associate vice president of Facilities and Auxiliary Services. “Trust me, Facilities has been very busy this summer.”

Memorial Hall

The construction projects in Memorial Hall, which was originally built in 1959, included not only the HVAC system, but also new energy-efficient windows and painting of the exterior walls. Each classroom will now have the ability to individually control the temperature, and the exterior walls were changed to reflect the style of North Hall for a more cohesive look. This project began on May 18 and finished on August 30.

According to Reca, the total cost of Memorial’s renovations was $3.3 million.

The professors who work in Memorial are pleased with the results and are excited to be able to move back into the academic building after spending the summer relocated in the Alpha Xi Delta sorority house.

“We are looking forward to air conditioning and heating systems that function in all seasons, windows that open and close easily, and a redesigned exterior that matches North Hall,” said Sharon Sherman, dean of the School of Education. “The old window air conditioners were very noisy, and we look forward to having units that produce less noise in the classrooms. In addition, we were told that these units are state of the art. That will be a big improvement.”

Sherman added that her department is appreciative of the help and support the School of Education received this summer.

“I would like to thank our staff, administration, chairs, student workers, and faculty in the School of Education for their cooperation,” she said. “We moved twice this summer and did quite a bit of work to bring Memorial back to a place where students throughout the campus can learn. It was quite the task, but we did it well.”

Students within the School of Education are also looking forward to the improvements made in Memorial Hall.

“I was working as a student assistant this summer in the sorority house, and we were really excited to be able to move back into Memorial at the end of the summer,” said Lindsey Hegenauer, a senior elementary education major. “I can tell that the classrooms will be much more comfortable to work in.”

Tri-Generation plant

The Tri-Generation plant project — which was the cause of the large holes and construction blockage between Sweigart Hall and Memorial Hall — will provide heating, cooling and electricity for the academic quad. The plant itself is a giant gas-fire turbine that generates heating, cooling and electricity. This engine will be encased by a two-story shell and will be located between Gill Chapel and the Fine Arts parking lot.

“This is an energy-efficiency project that will provide better services to the academic buildings,” Reca said. “The result will be substantial annual utility savings as well as increased energy efficiency to reduce energy costs and consumption for consumers, businesses and government.”

According to President Mordechai Rozanski’s town hall address, given at the end of the spring, the project will reduce the university’s annual utility budget by $500,000 and is expected to be completed by January 2014.

Other benefits of the sustainable and cost-effective initiative include a reduction of the university’s reliance on imported energy, increased reliability of the campus’ electrical and fuel supply and a reduction of the impact of energy use and production on the environment.

More specifically, this project will save nearly 9,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, over 17,000 pounds of sulfur oxides, more than 100 grams of mercury and over 6 million pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Melissa Greenberg, Rider’s sustainability manager, explained these savings in simpler terms.

“These are all sources of pollution that contribute to greenhouse gasses,” Greenberg said. “Greenhouse gasses affect our ozone layer, air and water. They contribute to the warming of the planet which causes the arctic ice to melt, sea levels to rise, catastrophic storms and other natural disasters to occur. When we can lessen our impact on the environment, it can help climate change to slow down. Pollutants in the air can also cause health issues to humans and other species.”

Greenberg added that because the plant will run on natural gas, less energy would be purchased from off-campus sources using oil and coal.

“Natural gas is a cleaner energy source,” she said. “This natural gas will provide a portion of our total campus energy demand.”

Kate Weindorfer, a senior environmental studies major, is pleased with the efforts Rider is making toward being more energy efficient and sustainable.

“I think this project is a great way for Rider to get more involved with our environment and continue the journey of becoming more eco-friendly,” she said. “With less carbon dioxide and other gases in the air, the better the atmosphere will be for us and all other living things in the environment. I’m happy that Rider started this initiative because every little sustainable project we do will help our environment and ecosystem for years to come.”

As a whole, the Tri-Generation project will cost the university about $5 million. However, part of the expense will be covered by a $1 million grant from the state. The Memorial Hall renovations and the Tri-Generation plant are part of a series of projects that were funded by bonds Rider issued in 2012.

Marion Buckelew Cullen Center

Over in Princeton at WCC, the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center is scheduled to be complete by August 2014.

Groundbreaking for the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center took place on May 17. The 12,000-square-foot building will contain a rehearsal/recital hall that can accommodate the entire Symphonic Choir. Also reported in Rozanski’s town hall address last spring, the $8 million project has been funded through money that has already been raised.
“Currently, the site is being cleared and the ground is being prepped for footings and foundation work,” Reca said.

The new academic building is set to receive Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the silver level from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Athletic facilities

Switching directions to the world of sports, another project that was started this summer was the building of a new multi-sport indoor practice facility located near the baseball field on the Lawrenceville campus.

“It is a 7,000-square-foot open-floor structure to be used for a baseball and softball indoor batting and practice area,” Reca said. “The cost of the facility is $275,000 and [it] will be completed early in the fall semester.”

This facility will also be used by the men’s and women’s soccer teams and the field hockey team. In addition, it will be available to club teams, intramural sports and any campus organization. Some of the features will include a turf floor and three full-sized batting cages that will drop down from the ceiling.

Previously, Rider’s indoor batting cages were located next to the baseball field in a storage shed that the baseball and softball teams shared with Facilities. This summer, Facilities required more storage space in the shed for campus renovation projects, leaving no room for throwing baseballs or softballs. As a result, the indoor practice facility was created.

Don Harnum, director of Athletics, elaborated on the new building and its purposes.
“The space is large enough to do more than batting practice,” he said. “There’s room for throwing, pitching and infield practice. This facility will be particularly helpful during the winter months, and when the weather does not cooperate for outdoor practices during the season. As with all of our athletic facility projects, the primary goals are to provide our student athletes and coaches with the best possible facilities for training and player development and arm our coaches with the necessary recruiting tools.”

Other improvements in Athletics included the addition of a video board in Alumni Gym and the expansion of the sand volleyball court next to Poyda Hall to regulation size. The court also received new sand and a new net.

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