By Katie Zeck
In a move aimed at creating more revenue and campus living space, Rider last weekend began a $1 million series of moves that will ultimately see Dean of Students Anthony Campbell, the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) and Public Safety residing in new locations.
The OIT, which currently occupies Centennial House, will be moved to Public Safety’s current location in the General Services Building (GSB). Public Safety will then be transferred to Campbell’s former home, West House on Route 206. Campbell has already moved into a home adjacent to Rider on West Long Drive. The entire move, is expected to be completed by January 2012.
Campbell moved into his new residence this past weekend and the renovations to West House for Public Safety will begin as soon as permits are obtained. According to Mike Reca, Vice President of Facilities and Auxiliary Services, the anticipated completion date is late summer. When Public Safety moves into its new location, renovations will then begin in GSB to house OIT with a target completion date of December 2011.
The final stage of the move will be the restoration of Centennial House into a 40-bed residence hall. This modification will be completed by the start of the 2012 spring semester explained Mike Reca.
According to Campbell, the main reason for the moves is to find new living spaces on campus, consistent with President Mordechai Rozanski and the university’s plan to generate revenue without physically expanding.
“We’re trying to find a way to expand residence hall spaces without building,” said Campbell.
The moves, however, are being met with mixed emotions.
“One of the main reasons I chose to go to Rider was because it was a small, close-knit community,” said freshman Katie Freier. “I feel that making Centennial House a residence hall is the start of losing that aspect of Rider.”
Other students were pleased with the prospect of an additional residence hall and an expanding student body.
“I like that more people would be coming to Rider, you can make more connections to others, more networking,” said freshman Nichole Hitchner. “The more people that come to Rider, the more fresh faces you can see around campus and the more people you can share your college experiences with.”
Campbell, however, assures that the moves will be nothing but beneficial to the students.
“It’ll make the campus safer because Public Safety will be more visible to the front of the campus and OIT will have the space needed to better run their operations.”
According to Campbell, the income generated by the space for new students will pay for the moves relatively quickly.
“This move generates income for us that we don’t have right now by eventually filling Centennial with students. The money generated from Centennial will pay for the move in about two and a half years.”
It is anticipated that the potential 40 to 45-bed residence hall facility will house English as a Second Language program students and some international students.
According to Associate Vice President of Facilities and Auxiliary Services Mike Reca, the budget of $1 million that has been established for the relocating of the multiple campus services includes the purchase of Campbell’s new residence as well as the numerous renovation projects.
“These projects will not be paid for by the university’s operating budget,” Reca said. “Because these projects and moves will both improve the working environment for OIT and Public Safety as well as generate continuing new net revenue for Rider from the restoration of Centennial, the university’s Board of Trustees authorized a loan from the quasi-endowment fund.”
In order to accommodate the new occupants of all the buildings, renovations will be necessary. West House will be updated to make room for Public Safety and its many operations, including an upgrade to Rider’s fire safety monitoring technology and parking for Public Safety and guest vehicles. Reca went on to say that the space Public Safety currently occupies in the GSB also will be modified to fit the needs of OIT. Ultimately the changes will strengthen the services of OIT as well as make the new residence related revenue possible.
However, Mail Services, which also occupies the GSB, will lose about 50 percent of its space, according to Bobby Price, a Mail Services employee.
“We are excited about these improvements to the working and living environments on campus, and appreciate the Board of Trustee’s support for the project funding,” Reca said.
Administration from OIT and Public Safety agree that the changes will be greatly beneficial to their organizations as well as the rest of the university.
“I don’t see any difficulties with the move,” said Carol Kondrach, associate vice president for the Office of Information Technologies. “We are excited about the change and see it as an opportunity to create a functional, productive workspace for the department. With the OIT move, Rider can respond to the need for additional flexible residential space, particularly for the growing international student population.”
Head of Public Safety Vickie Weaver agrees that the adjustments made to the different facilities will only improve the current conditions each group is operating under.
“We’re very excited about the move; our space is going to be more functional, expanded, updated and in a more prominent location on campus, all of which are positives for our department and the university. We are thrilled and looking forward to the move,” Weaver said.
Weaver also ensured that the transition would not hinder Public Safety’s efficiency as the campus security.
“The move will in no way diminish our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any incident, emergency, or event,” she said.“We will continue to patrol the campus 24/7 as we have in the past.”